What is Coughing Up Blood?

Hemoptysis is coughing up blood or blood-stained mucus from the bronchial tubes, larynx, trachea, or lungs. It is bleeding from the airways. Lung Cancer, infections such as Tuberculosis, bronchitis, or pneumonia, and some cardiovascular problems may occur in this manner. Coughing up blood is not the same as vomiting blood. Blood that coughed up also appears bubbly and combined with mucus. It can be red or rust-colored and usually found in small amounts. Vomiting blood refers to the expulsion of large amounts of blood from the mouth.

Types of coughing up blood(hemoptysis)

Based on how much blood is expelled over the course of a day, hemoptysis is classified into several categories.

Massive or life-threatening hemoptysis

Different professionals have different recommendations for what this category entails. They can contain anywhere from 100 milliliters (ml) to 600 ml, or almost half a liter, of blood.

Non-massive or non-life-threatening hemoptysis

Submassive or mild hemoptysis are other names for this condition. One cup's worth (20–200 ml) of blood can be coughed up.

Little or mild hemoptysis

Less than a tablespoon, or less than 20 ml, is coughed up.


Many problems can cause this symptom, ranging from throat irritation to lung cancer. While coughing up blood is not a symptom to ignore, most cases are mild and not serious. This can irritate the airways and possibly cause them to cough up blood when a person has a respiratory infection or heavy cough.


Chronic bronchitis is usually behind the appearance of blood. The condition involves persistent or recurrent inflammation of the airways, along with coughing and sputum production.


This describes a permanent enlargement of parts of the airways in the lungs. It also happens with an infection, shortness of breath, and wheezing.

Prolonged or severe cough

This can irritate the upper respiratory tract and tear the blood vessels.


These medications prevent the blood from clotting.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD is a permanent blockage of the airflow in the lungs. It usually causes shortness of breath, coughing, sputum production, and wheezing.


Bloody sputum may cause this and other lung infections. Inflammation of the lung tissue, usually because of a bacterial infection, characterized by pneumonia. People with pneumonia appear to have chest pain, exhaustion, fever, sweating, and chills while they are breathing or coughing.

Pulmonary embolism

It refers to a blood clot in an artery in a lung. It usually causes sudden chest pain and shortness of breath.

Pulmonary edema

This describes the fluid in the lungs. Pulmonary edema is more common in people with heart conditions. It causes pink, frothy sputum, and severe shortness of breath, sometimes with chest pain.

Lung cancer

A person is more likely to get lung cancer if they are over 40 and smoke tobacco. It can cause a cough that doesn't go away, shortness of breath, chest pain, and sometimes bone pain or headaches.

Neck cancer

Usually begins in the throat, larynx, or trachea. It can cause swelling or pain that does not heal, a permanent sore throat, and a red or white patch in the mouth.

Cystic fibrosis

This inherited condition seriously damages the lungs. It usually causes shortness of breath and a persistent cough with thick mucus. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis. This describes the inflammation of the blood vessels in the sinuses, lungs, and kidneys. A runny nose, nosebleeds, shortness of breath, wheezing, and fever are typically induced.


A bacterium causes this serious lung infection, which can cause fever, sweating, chest pain, pain when breathing or coughing, and a persistent cough.

Narrow heart valves

A narrowing of the mitral valve of the heart, called stenosis of the mitral valve, may cause shortness of breath, particularly during exertion or when lying down. Swollen feet or legs and heart palpitations or exhaustion, especially with increased physical activity, are other symptoms.

A serious injury

Chest trauma may cause blood to appear within the sputum.
Other causes include:

  • Congestive heart failure, especially due to mitral stenosis
  • Use of crack cocaine
  • Foreign objects in your airways
  • Inflammatory or autoimmune disease
  • Lung Abscess
  • Non-cancerous lung tumors
  • Parasitic infection
  • Pulmonary arteriovenous malformations (AVM)
  • An injury such as a gunshot wound or a car accident
  • Use of blood thinners (anticoagulants)
  • Endometriosis
  • Hughes-Stovin syndrome
  • Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia
  • Sarcoidosis

In some cases, doctors can't find a cause, but hemoptysis usually clears up within 6 months.


Since bloody coughing can range in severity from mild to severe, it's critical to identify the underlying source of your symptoms so that you can get the right care. Before starting an examination, your doctor will inquire about the amount of blood you have been coughing up and whether any of it is mixed with mucus.
The following tests can be performed:

  • A chest computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Chest x-ray to look for tumors or fluid in the lungs.
  • Lung explorationLung biopsy.
  • Bronchoscopy to check if the airway is clear.
  • Blood count.
  • A sputum culture of lung excretions to look for infection.
  • Blood coagulation test.
  • Pulmonary arteriography to see how blood is flowing through your lungs.
  • Urinalysis


The treatments aim to stop the bleeding and treat the underlying cause. Possible treatments include:


Steroids can help when there is an inflammatory disease behind the bleeding.


In pneumonia or tuberculosis cases, antibiotics are used


It gives a close look at the potential causes of bleeding. An instrument called an endoscope is inserted into the airway through the nose or mouth. Tools can be attached at the end. Others are intended to avoid bleeding, while others may dissolve a blood clot, for instance.


A doctor can prescribe a procedure called embolization if a large blood vessel is responsible for the blood in the sputum. a doctor may recommend a procedure called embolization. A catheter is inserted into the vessel, the source of the bleeding is identified, and a metal coil, chemical, or piece of gelatin sponge is used to seal it off.


Transfusion of products from the blood. When clotting issues or overly thin blood handle the appearance, a transfusion of elements in the blood, such as plasma, clotting factors, or platelets, may need blood in the sputum.

chemotherapy or radiotherapy

chemotherapy or radiotherapy: These can be used to treat lung cancer.


This may be necessary to remove a cancerous or damaged part of the lung. Surgery is generally considered a last resort and only an option when bleeding is severe or persistent.


Coughing up blood is a symptom of an illness, condition or illness. Ignoring the symptom can allow the underlying cause to get worse.Prevention is therefore about tackling the problem and getting appropriate treatment. Stopping smoking, as well as avoiding the outdoors when pollution and smog are high, can be beneficial.If you don't ignore a persistent cough, it can also help prevent this symptom.

When to visit a Doctor?

It is important to contact your doctor every time you cough up blood, as it can be a sign of a serious respiratory condition.

Speak to your healthcare provider if you are coughing up tiny quantities of blood for more than a week. They will determine the cause of your hemoptysis.

Seek immediate attention if you are coughing up more than a few teaspoons of blood or if your cough is accompanied by the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Blood in your urine or stools
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Rapid or severe weight loss

Home Remedies:

Coughing up blood, also known as hemoptysis, is a potentially serious symptom that should not be treated with home remedies alone. It requires prompt medical attention to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment. While you should not rely solely on home remedies, there are some steps you can take at home to help alleviate discomfort or irritation associated with coughing up blood before seeking medical help:

Stay Calm

Coughing up blood can be distressing, but it's important to remain as calm as possible.

Cough Gently

If you need to clear your throat or cough, do so gently to avoid further irritation. Avoid forceful coughing.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids to keep your respiratory tract moist and to help soothe any irritation.

Use a Humidifier

Using a humidifier in your room can add moisture to the air and alleviate throat dryness.

Avoid Irritants

Stay away from smoking, secondhand smoke, and other airborne irritants that can exacerbate the problem.

Elevate Your Head

Sleeping with your head elevated can help reduce the chances of coughing up blood during the night.

Avoid Aspirin and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs):

These medications can increase the risk of bleeding. If you need pain relief, consider using acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead, unless otherwise advised by a healthcare professional.


Get plenty of rest to help your body recover and heal.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What causes someone to cough up blood?

The main cause of coughing up blood is chronic bronchitis or bronchiectasis. Other possible causes of coughing up blood include: exacerbation of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) - worsening of symptoms.

2. What happens if you cough up blood?

A severe medical condition may be a symptom of coughing up blood (hemoptysis). Infections, cancer, and problems with the blood vessels of the lungs themselves may be to blame. Coughing up blood generally requires a medical evaluation, unless the hemoptysis is due to bronchitis.

3. When I cough, is there blood in my mucus?

Hemoptysis is the medical word for blood in the cough. Small amounts of bright red blood or frothy sputum with blood streaks (phlegm) may come up in your coughing. Blood usually comes from the lungs and is often the result of a prolonged cough or a chest infection.