'I am trying to survive': Kate Beckinsale breaks her silence on 6-week hospitalization. What is a Mallory-Weiss tear?

The actress, 50, defended her recent weight loss by sharing details of her physical and mental health struggles.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

Kate Beckinsale says grief and stress contributed to her physical illness. (Image via Getty Images)
Kate Beckinsale says grief and stress contributed to her physical illness. (Image via Getty Images)

Kate Beckinsale says she was hospitalized for six weeks due to “a hole” between her esophagus and stomach.

Earlier this week, the 50-year-old actress took to Instagram to share now-deleted videos of herself dancing in her trailer while filming her upcoming film, “Stolen Girl.” According to Us Weekly, the video generated concern for the star’s appearance.

“Sorry to say this, Kate, but you do look a bit thin,” a follower wrote. “You've always striked a great balance … But when your cheekbones start to show, the balance is lost.”

The comment prompted a response from Beckinsale, who revealed grief and stress have taken a toll on both her physical and mental health.

Kate Beckinsale at the King's Trust Gala in a ruffled gown with a thigh high slit.
Kate Beckinsale shared details of her recent hospitalization. (Image via Getty Images)

“I nursed my [stepdad] to his death early this year. My mum also has stuff going on. I am adjusting to watching two fathers die, one when I was five, one in January of this year,” she wrote, acknowledging the death of her stepfather, Roy Battersby, earlier this year. Her father, Richard Beckinsale, died suddenly in 1979 from a heart attack. The actress added the death of her 19-year-old “soul cat” last year compounded her grief.

“I spent six weeks in hospital due to copiously vomiting blood from a [Mallory-Weiss tear] caused by the stress of a whole year ripping a hole between my [esophagus] and stomach,” she wrote. Beckinsale said she also “experienced a severe flare of [her] mast cell disease,” which she says is “mitigated by stress, shock and grief.”

Beckinsale has previously opened up about living with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), a condition that causes people to experience repeated anaphylaxis and/or allergy symptoms such as itching, swelling, severe vomiting and diarrhea. The incidents can be caused by triggers that vary from person to person and can change over time.

“That’s what I am prepared to disclose that has contributed to some weight loss. What you think of my appearance and how I should look, independently of any circumstances in my life and my family’s, is not important,” Beckinsale said. “I am trying to survive what feel like unbearable losses, reactivated PTSD from discovering my very young father’s almost dead body as a very young child alone in the night and working to support the family I have left.”

Kate Beckinsale at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival in a green gown with sequins.
Kate Beckinsale pictured at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2023. (Image via Getty Images)

“The fact you fancy girls who are heavier than I am does not feature in things that are important or relevant. I don’t care what your taste in women is. I care that you think any of us need to be apprised of it. … Do better," she concluded.

Mallory-Weiss tears occur when the tissue where the esophagus meets the stomach tear or split open and bleed. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these vertical lacerations look like a “hose that's been split open” and vary in size from .75 inches to 1.5 inches long.

The condition is named after American doctors George Kenneth Mallory and Soma Weiss, who in 1929 described these esophageal lacerations in patients with persistent vomiting after consuming too much alcohol. However, the tears can also occur in people who experience increased gastric pressure caused by:

  • forceful vomiting

  • abdominal or chest trauma

  • forceful coughing

  • hiatal hernias

  • childbirth

  • heavy lifting or straining

  • CPR

A visual of a human body, highlighting the esophagus and stomach, (Image via Getty Images)
Mallory-Weiss tears occur when the tissue where the esophagus meets the stomach tear or split open and bleed. (Image via Getty Images)

What are the symptoms of Mallory-Weiss tears?

Mallory-Weiss tears are internal. However, people can experience symptoms such as:

  • blood in the stool

  • dark or “sticky” stool

  • bright red vomit

  • vomit that looks like coffee grounds

  • weakness

  • dizziness or fainting

  • diarrhea

  • abdominal or chest pain that radiates to the back

Although rare, severe tears can cause internal bleeding. Other complications can include anemia and shortness of breath.

Most Mallory-Weiss tears heal on their own. Sometimes physicians may prescribe medications to lower stomach acid while the tear heals, while more persistent bleeds may require endoscopic treatments.

Men are two to four times more likely to develop a Mallory-Weiss tears than women, and they rarely occur in children. People who have Mallory-Weiss tears are typically between the ages of 40 and 60.

There are several health conditions that can increase your risk of developing a Mallory-Weiss tear, such as bulimia, chronic alcohol use, severe vomiting during pregnancy (hyperemesis gravidarum) and acid reflux.

Let us know what you think by commenting below and tweeting @YahooStyleCA! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.