Signs and symptoms of intestinal ischemia can develop suddenly (acute) or gradually (chronic). The condition presents differently in different people, so no one set of signs and symptoms indicates intestinal ischemia, but there are some generally recognized patterns.

Symptoms of acute intestinal ischemia

Signs and symptoms of acute intestinal ischemia typically include:

  • Sudden abdominal pain that may range from mild to severe
  • An urgent need to have a bowel movement
  • Frequent, forceful bowel movements
  • Abdominal tenderness or distention
  • Blood in your stool
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Fever
  • Mental confusion in older adults

Symptoms of chronic intestinal ischemia

Signs and symptoms of chronic intestinal ischemia can include:

  • Abdominal cramps or fullness after eating, usually within the first hour, and lasting one to three hours
  • Abdominal pain that gets progressively worse over weeks or months
  • Fear of eating because of subsequent pain
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Bloating

When to see a doctor

Seek immediate medical care if you have sudden, severe abdominal pain. Pain that makes you so uncomfortable that you can't sit still or find a comfortable position is a medical emergency.

If you have other signs or symptoms that worry you, make an appointment with your doctor.

Aug. 15, 2015