December 7, 2023

What Causes Blood In Phlegm- What To Do

  • May 29, 2023
What Causes Blood In Phlegm- What To Do

In young and overall healthy patients, blood in phlegm results from prolonged or constant coughing or dried-up membranes in the respiratory airway. People who take anticoagulants may also notice some specks of blood in their spectrum. Blood in phlegm, also known as hemoptysis, can be a concerning symptom that may indicate an underlying medical condition. While it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis, here we can provide some general information on the causes of blood in phlegm and what steps you can take if you experience this symptom.

Where does it come from?

Many factors can lead to blood in the spectrum. The blood comes from the lungs and sometimes the stomach or digestive tract. If the blood comes from the digestive: tract, the medical term is hematemesis. 

If the blood is bright red, frothy, and sometimes mixed with mucus, it probably comes from the lungs, weakly, as with hemoptysis, and can result from persistent coughing or a lung infection.

If the blood is dark and comes with traces of food, it probably originated in the stomach or elsewhere in the digestive tract, with hematemesis. 

What causes blood in phlegm?

Blood in phlegm can occur due to the following reasons:

1. Persistent Coughing:

Allergies, flu, and persistent coughing can all cause blood in phlegm. This occurs because of irritation in the respiratory airways, which can become cracked and lead to some blood mixed with phlegm. Usually, these conditions are temporary and not severe, and the blood resolves within some days when the coughing improves. 

2. Respiratory Infections: 

One common cause of blood in phlegm is respiratory infections like bronchitis, pneumonia, or tuberculosis. These infections can cause irritation and inflammation in the respiratory tract, leading to blood in the phlegm.

3. Anticoagulant medications :

People who use anticoagulants, like warfarin or heparin, are at a greater risk of bleeding in different body parts. These medications make the blood thinner, putting the patient at a higher risk of bleeding in other body parts. Anticoagulants can irritate the respiratory tract, and a mild allergy, for instance, can cause a scant amount of bleeding when coughing up phlegm. 

4. Chronic Lung Conditions:

Conditions like chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can cause damage to the airways over time, leading to the production of blood in phlegm.

5. Bronchiectasis :

Bronchiectasis is a chronic condition associated with permanent dilation of the bronchi. This can lead to excess phlegm production and frequent shortness of breath. The presence of blood in phlegm is also a common finding. 

6. Lung Cancer:

Hemoptysis can also be associated with lung cancer. Tumors in the lungs can cause bleeding, which may be evident in the phlegm.

7. Pulmonary Embolism: 

A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot blocks the blood vessels in the lungs. This can result in coughing blood and other symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, and dizziness.

8.Trauma or Injury:

If you have experienced recent trauma or injury to the chest or lungs, it can cause bleeding and blood in phlegm.

9. Blood Vessel Abnormalities: 

Specific blood vessel abnormalities, such as arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), can cause bleeding in the respiratory system. These abnormalities can be congenital or acquired.

What to Do:

1. Consult a Healthcare Professional:

If you notice blood in your phlegm, it is crucial to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can assess your symptoms and medical history and perform necessary tests to identify the underlying cause. Do not delay or ignore seeking medical advice.

2. Provide Detailed Information:

When you visit a healthcare professional, provide them with detailed information about your symptoms, including the frequency, amount, and any associated symptoms you may have noticed. This information will help in the diagnostic process.

3. Diagnostic Tests: 

Your healthcare provider may order different diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the blood in phlegm. These tests may include a chest X-ray, CT scan, bronchoscopy, or sputum culture. These tests can help identify any underlying conditions and guide appropriate treatment.

4. Treat the Underlying Cause: 

Treatment will depend on the particular cause of the blood in phlegm. For example, antibiotics may be prescribed if a respiratory infection is the culprit. In the case of lung cancer, treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapies. Your healthcare provider will offer the best course of action based on your diagnosis.

5. Follow Medical Advice: 

Following the prescribed treatment plan and any recommendations your healthcare professional gives are essential. This may include taking medications as prescribed, attending follow-up appointments, and making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking if advised.

6. Seek Emergency Care if Needed:

If you experience severe bleeding, difficulty breathing, chest pain, or any other concerning symptoms, seek emergency medical care immediately.


Remember, the information provided here is general and should not replace professional medical advice. A small amount of blood in the sputum is not usually a cause for concern. Bleeding for several weeks may indicate lung cancer or another severe illness. Hence, always consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options if you are experiencing blood in phlegm or other concerning symptoms.

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