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What are the causes of ischemic colitis?

ANSWER

If you have any of the following, you’re at higher risk:

Repair of an aortic aneurysm (a bulge in the artery) is often associated with ischemic colitis. Other operations in the abdomen and cardiovascular system can also cause problems.

Also, if you’re a long distance runner, your risk is higher. During a marathon, it’s believed that blood flow shifts away from your gut to meet the oxygen needs of your leg muscles. Dehydration may play a role, too.

Many medications can trigger an ischemic colitis attack. These include:

  • Chronic constipation
  • Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • Very low blood pressure or flow
  • A blood clot
  • Bowel blockage
  • The decongestant pseudoephedrine
  • Some migraine and heart drugs
  • Estrogen

SOURCES:

Brandt, L. , January 2015. The American Journal of Gastroenterology

Elder, K. , July 2009. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine

Mount Sinai Hospital: "Ischemic Bowel Disease."

The Mayo Clinic: "Ischemic Colitis."

Lawrence J. Brandt, MD, MACG, Professor of Medicine and Surgery Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Emeritus Chief, Division of Gastroenterology Montefiore Medical Center Bronx, NY.

Grames, C. , September 2012. Case Reports in Gastrointestinal Medicine

Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Inflammatory Bowel Disease Fact Sheet."

American Cancer Society: "Health Risks of Smoking Tobacco."

Winchester Hospital: “Ischemic Bowel Disease.”

Medscape: “Chronic Mesenteric Ischemia Treatment & Management.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on July 11, 2019

SOURCES:

Brandt, L. , January 2015. The American Journal of Gastroenterology

Elder, K. , July 2009. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine

Mount Sinai Hospital: "Ischemic Bowel Disease."

The Mayo Clinic: "Ischemic Colitis."

Lawrence J. Brandt, MD, MACG, Professor of Medicine and Surgery Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Emeritus Chief, Division of Gastroenterology Montefiore Medical Center Bronx, NY.

Grames, C. , September 2012. Case Reports in Gastrointestinal Medicine

Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Inflammatory Bowel Disease Fact Sheet."

American Cancer Society: "Health Risks of Smoking Tobacco."

Winchester Hospital: “Ischemic Bowel Disease.”

Medscape: “Chronic Mesenteric Ischemia Treatment & Management.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on July 11, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

What tests will my doctor do to see if I have ischemic colitis?

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