Watermelon Stomach: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

The condition in which dilation of the capillary in the stomach causes a prospective danger of excessive internal bleeding is known clinically as GAVE (gastric antral vascular ectasia). Because the blood vessels make red streaks inside and outside the stomach similar to the streaks on a watermelon, this condition is typically referred to as watermelon stomach.

Although women above the age of 50 who have been detected with any autoimmune disease, irritable bowel syndrome, an abdominal injury or cirrhosis are probably to struggle with this condition, it can occur to anyone.

Symptoms of Watermelon Stomach

Gastrointestinal bleeding is the most prominent sign of watermelon stomach which can cause following symptoms:

In addition to these symptoms, patients of watermelon stomach might also experience other symptoms like chronic headaches, shallow breathing and sensations of weakness or tiredness. Having difficulty concentrating, chest pain, heart palpitations, confusion and lightheadedness are likewise common symptoms experienced by individuals who have suffered a lot of blood due to the fact that of this condition. It is very important to instantly seek advice from a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms so that your condition is appropriately detected and treated as quickly as possible.

Causes of Watermelon Stomach

Although the exact reason for watermelon stomach continues to be a mystery, individuals suffering from chronic conditions like systemic sclerosis, cirrhosis, CREST syndrome and autoimmune disease are frequently diagnosed with it.

Distension caused by vasculitis, conditions that hamper the functioning of the intestinal system, trauma to the abdominal area, cirrhosis or tomb’s disease is the reason for the appearance of the dilated capillary in the antral part of the stomach. People who are most prone to develop this condition generally have huge bowel obstruction, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic constipation. You can anticipate severe hemorrhaging and subsequent anemia when eruption of the dilated blood vessels happens in the stomach.

Diagnosis of Watermelon Stomach

Differential diagnosis: Building an adequate differential is very important for diagnosis of watermelon stomach as several diagnoses can be reached from its symptoms indicating conditions that have significantly varied treatments. Typical causes that are to be included in an adequate differential include portal hypertension and gastric/duodenal ulcer. Gastric antral vascular ectasia, hemobilia, Cameron sores, Dieulafoy Lesions, aortoenteric fistulas, upper intestinal growths, hemosuccus pancreatic us and portal hypertensive gastropathy are amongst the intermittent causes that are to be consisted of in an appropriate differential.

watermelon stomach

watermelon stomach ache

Diagnosis: An endoscopic biopsy is the only conclusive way of diagnosing GAVE syndrome. An endoscopy can quickly expose the characteristic watermelon stripes of this condition. The watermelon streaks are in the form of flat, erythematous stripes in longitudinal rows that radiate into the antrum after stemming from the pylorus.

In patients having portal hypertension, the discussion of the watermelon streaks is different. Such people might not have the radiating patterns and rather have diffuse antral angiomas. In both cases, tagged red cell scan, CT scan or endoscopic ultrasound can be used for verifying the diagnosis. In addition to this, the histopathological feature of GAVE can be characterized by spindle cell expansion, vascular ectasia and fibrohyanlinosis. Risk indicator in GAVE patients that have systemic sclerosis can be done through using anti-RNA polymerase III auto-antibodies.

Treatment of Watermelon Stomach


Argon plasma coagulation or endoscopic laser surgery are the two treatment techniques readily available for watermelon stomach. Endoscopy is used for performing both these procedures. The argon plasma coagulation utilizes electrical existing and argon gas for sealing bleeding or irregular tissue while endoscopic laser surgery makes use of laser light for treating bleeding blood vessels.


Specific drugs are prescribed for patients in many cases for controlling or stopping the gastrointestinal bleeding. Treatment of watermelon stomach has been performed successfully with hormone therapy (progesterone and estrogen), tranexamic acid and corticosteroids.

At the time of diagnosis, blood transfusions and iron supplements are generally prescribed especially if the bleeding is severe. If the intestinal bleeding can not be managed or stopped, then additional transfusions might be needed.

Dietary Tips

A healthy diet can go a long way in assisting people with watermelon stomach. Prevent stomach-irritating food and drinks such as alcohol, greasy or spicy foods. Instead, aim to take excellent care of your stomach with foods rich in fiber such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Besides, the eating routines also matters. Instead of big meals, try smaller sized however more regular meals to assist with digestion.



Updated: August 7, 2016 — 11:17 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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