FAQ: What Are the Signs of Major Bleeding Due to Blood Thinners?

Caring.com staff asked...

What are the signs of major bleeding due to blood thinners?

Expert Answer

Dr. Leslie Kernisan is the author of a popular blog and podcast at BetterHealthWhileAging.net. She is also a clinical instructor in the University of California, San Francisco, Division of Geriatrics.

The signs of possible major bleeding due to a blood thinner such as warfarin, dabigatran, or rivaroxaban (brand names Coumadin, Pradaxa, and Xarelto) include these:

  • Bloody, black, or dark stool
  • Light-headedness, especially with standing
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath, especially with exertion
  • Headache and vomiting
  • Frequent nausea or stomach pain
  • Vomiting of blood or brownish material looking like coffee grounds
  • Blood in the urine
  • Symptoms of stroke, such as changes in vision, speech, or strength on one side of the body

Be sure to promptly report any of the above signs to a medical professional. Major bleeding due to anticoagulants can be life threatening in some cases.