Where ischemic colitis occurs
Area Commonly Affected by Ischemic Colitis Open the pop-up dialog
Ischemic colitis occurs when blood flow to part of the colon (large intestine) is temporarily reduced, usually due to narrowing of the blood vessels supplying the colon or decreased blood flow to the vessels due to low pressures. The decreased blood flow is not providing the cells in your digestive system with enough oxygen, which can damage the tissues in the affected intestinal area.
Any part of the colon can be affected, but ischemic colitis most often causes pain on the left side of the stomach area (abdomen).
Signs and symptoms of ischemic colitis can include:
Pain, tenderness, or cramps in the stomach that may come on suddenly or gradually
Bright red or brown blood in your stool, or sometimes blood alone without a stool
A sense of urgency to have a bowel movement
The exact cause of the decrease in blood flow to the colon is not always clear. Several factors can increase your risk of ischemic colitis:
Build-up of fatty deposits on the walls of an artery (atherosclerosis)
Low blood pressure (hypotension) associated with dehydration, heart failure, surgery, trauma or shock
Intestinal obstruction due to a hernia, scar tissue, or tumor
Surgery of the heart or blood vessels, or the digestive or gynecological system
Risk factors for ischemic colitis are:
Age. The disease is most common in adults over the age of 60. Ischemic colitis in young adults can be a sign of abnormal blood clotting or inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis).
Sex. Ischemic colitis is more common in women.
Clotting disorders. Conditions that affect the way blood clots appear, such as: B. Factor V Leiden can increase the risk of ischemic colitis.
High cholesterol which can lead to atherosclerosis.
Reduced blood flow due to heart failure, low blood pressure, shock, or certain conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.
Previous abdominal surgery. The scar tissue that forms after surgery can cause decreased blood flow.
Ischemic colitis usually resolves on its own within two to three days. In more severe cases, complications can include:
Tissue death (gangrene) due to decreased blood flow
Formation of holes (perforations) in your bowel or bleeding that continues
Intestinal obstruction (ischemic stenosis)
Since the cause of ischemic colitis is not always clear, there is no surefire way to prevent the disorder. Most people with ischemic colitis recover quickly and may never have an episode again.
To prevent recurring episodes of ischemic colitis, some doctors recommend removing any drugs that may be causing the disease. It is also important that you are well hydrated, especially during intense outdoor activities – especially those who live in hot climates. A coagulation disorder test may also be recommended, especially if no other cause of ischemic colitis is apparent.