Signs and symptoms of intestinal ischemia may develop suddenly (acute) or gradually over time (chronic).

Symptoms of acute intestinal ischemia

  • Sudden abdominal pain that may range from mild to severe
  • An urgent need to have a bowel movement
  • Frequent, forceful bowel movements
  • Tenderness or swelling in the abdomen
  • Blood in your stool
  • Nausea or vomiting or both
  • Fever

Symptoms of chronic intestinal ischemia

  • Abdominal cramps or fullness, beginning within 30 minutes after eating 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 or vomiting or both
  • Bloating

Chronic intestinal ischemia can progress to an acute episode. If this occurs, you may experience severe abdominal pain following weeks or months of intermittent pain after eating.

When to see a doctor

Seek immediate medical care if you have sudden, severe abdominal pain. Abdominal 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 concern you, make an appointment with your doctor.

Aug. 17, 2012