Ischemic colitis is an inflammatory condition that develops as a result of inadequate blood flow to the large intestine and colon. This condition is most commonly diagnosed in patients over the age of 60, but can affect patients of any age. The type of treatment recommended by our colorectal specialists at Colon & Rectal Surgical Specialists of New York will depend on the severity of your case. Approximately 20 percent of patients will require a surgical procedure, whereas all others can be treated through various non-surgical treatments at our Garden City, NY, practice. If left untreated, ischemic colitis can cause permanent damage to your colon.
What are the Causes?
Ischemic colitis occurs when there is insufficient blood flow to the colon, which is typically the result of blocked or narrowed mesenteric arteries. The cause of the blockage can be due to a variety of factors, such as:
- Plaque buildup inside arteries
- A blood clot
- Bowel obstruction (scar tissue, hernia, or tumor)
- Coronary artery disease
- Inflammation within the blood vessels
- Colon cancer
During your appointment, our team can conduct a series of diagnostic tests to determine the source of your condition.
When ischemic colitis is caught early, most patients can expect a full recovery after undergoing treatment.
Are There Any Risk Factors?
You have a greater risk of developing ischemic colitis if you:
- Are over the age of 60
- Have weakened or hardened arteries
- Have diabetes
- Have congestive heart failure
- Have low blood pressure
- Have undergone aorta or abdominal surgery
- Regularly experience constipation
- Have a clotting abnormality
- Have high cholesterol
- Participate in extreme exercise and sporting events
If you present with signs of ischemic colitis, our team can review your medical history to determine contributing factors.
Signs and Symptoms
Common side effects can include:
- Radiating abdominal pain and cramping, especially after eating
- Pressing and reoccurring need to have a bowel movement
- Loose stools
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bloody stool with dark red clots
Because symptoms of ischemic colitis can often be confused with other digestive issues and inflammatory bowel diseases, it is vital to schedule an appointment with a colorectal specialist if you experience signs or discomfort.
Various Treatment Options
At Colon & Rectal Surgical Specialists of New York, we offer both surgical and non-surgical treatment options for our patients. Most patients can achieve a successful outcome within one to two weeks of not smoking, eating healthier, exercising, and undergoing conservative treatment options, such as:
- Taking antibiotics to treat any infections
- Receiving intravenous fluids for dehydration
- Taking medications for the underlying medical condition causing inadequate blood flow
- Avoiding medications that cause blood vessel constriction
In more severe cases when symptoms do not resolve naturally, patients may require more advanced surgical treatment to:
- Remove dead tissue within the intestines
- Remove a portion of the colon that has irreversibly narrowed
- Repair any holes within the colon
- Bypass an intestinal artery blockage
During your consultation, your doctor can perform an initial colonoscopy to determine the type of treatment best suited for your needs. Throughout treatment, we can conduct a series of colonoscopies to ensure you are responding well. When ischemic colitis is caught early, most patients can expect a full recovery after undergoing treatment.
Contact Our Office
If you are concerned you may have ischemic colitis, it is critical to visit a specialist as soon as possible to receive treatment and prevent long-term damage to your digestive tract. You can contact our office online or by calling (516) 248-2422 to schedule your consultation with a member of our team.