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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Watermelon stomach

Other Names for this Disease
  • Gastric antral vascular ectasia
  • GAVE
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Your Question

I was recently diagnosed with watermelon stomach. Can you provide me with more information on this condition?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is watermelon stomach?

Watermelon stomach is a condition in which the lining of the stomach bleeds, causing it to look like the characteristic stripes of a watermelon when viewed by endoscopy.[1][2] Symptoms of watermelon stomach may include sudden, unexplained bleeding, chronic bleeding, and anemia. Other symptoms may include vomiting of blood and dark stools that contain blood.[1] Click here to view a diagram of the stomach.
Last updated: 11/7/2011

What causes watermelon stomach?

The exact cause of watermelon stomach is unknown.[1]
Last updated: 11/7/2011

Who does watermelon stomach most commonly affect?

Watermelon stomach is more often seen in middle-aged or older women. More than 70% of cases occur in women older than 65 years.[1]
Last updated: 7/12/2011

Are there any conditions associated with watermelon stomach?

Yes. The following conditions have been associated with watermelon stomach:
Last updated: 7/12/2011

What are the signs and symptoms of watermelon stomach?

The most common symptom of watermelon stomach is unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding.[1][2][3] Melena (black, bloody stool) or hematemesis (vomiting blood) are less common symptoms.[1][2][3] In most patients, the chronic blood loss causes iron-deficiency anemia.[1][2][3]
Last updated: 11/7/2011

How might watermelon stomach be treated?

Iron supplements and blood transfusions have been used with some success.[1]  Laser therapy and argon plasma coagulation are also being used to treat individuals who have watermelon stomach.[2][3]

We recommend you speak with your health care provider or a gastroenterologist to determine whether you require treatment and to discuss your treatment options. To find a local gastroenterologist we recommend that you contact your doctor for a referral. The following tool can also help you locate a specialist in your area.

The American College of Gastroenterology offers a Physician Locator service on its Web site at the link below.  You can search by Last Name, City, State or Zip Code.
Last updated: 11/7/2011

Are there any advocacy organizations for individuals and families with watermelon stomach?

Yes. Click on the Support Groups tab above to view these support organizations. Also, the International Scleroderma Network has an information page on watermelon stomach because this condition is sometimes associated with a condition called diffuse systemic scleroderma. Click on the link to view this information. You can also contact the International Scleroderma Network for more information at 1-800-564-7099 (toll-free in the U.S.) or 952-831-3091.
Last updated: 7/12/2011

How can I find journal articles and additional comprehensive resources on watermelon stomach?

You can find relevant journal articles on watermelon stomach through a service called PubMed, a searchable database of medical literature. Some articles are available as a complete document, while information on other studies is available as a summary abstract. To obtain the full article, contact a medical/university library (or your local library for interlibrary loan), or order it online using the following link. Using 'watermelon stomach[ti] OR gastric antral vascular ectasia[ti]' as your search term should locate articles.  Click here to view a search.

The NLM Web site has a page for locating libraries in your area that can provide direct access to journals (print or online) or where you can get articles through interlibrary loan and Loansome Doc (an NLM document-ordering service). You can access this page at the following link. You can also contact the NLM toll-free at 888-346-3656 to locate libraries in your area.
Last updated: 7/12/2011

  • Brandt LJ. Feldman: Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 8th ed.. Philadelphia, PA : Saunders; 2006;
  • Multiple Red Spots in the Antrum. Medscape Gastroenterology. 2002; Accessed 7/12/2011.
  • Hauser SC. Vascular diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D. Goldman: Cecil Medicine, 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2007;