The precise cause of diminished blood flow to the colon isn't always clear. But several factors can increase your risk of colon ischemia:
- Buildup of fatty deposits on the walls of an artery (atherosclerosis)
- Dangerously low blood pressure (hypotension) associated with heart failure, major surgery, trauma or shock
- A blood clot in an artery supplying the colon or, less commonly, in a vein (venous thrombosis)
- Bowel obstruction caused by a hernia, scar tissue or a tumor
- Surgery involving the heart or blood vessels, or the digestive or gynecological systems
- Other medical disorders that affect your blood, such as inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis), lupus or sickle cell anemia
- Cocaine or methamphetamine use
- Colon cancer (rare)
The role of medications
Certain medicines also can lead to ischemic colitis, though this is rare. They include:
Oct. 10, 2012
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Some heart and migraine medications that shrink blood vessels
- Hormone medications, such as estrogen
- Certain medications for irritable bowel syndrome
- Chemotherapy medications
- Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed July 19, 2012.
- AskMayoExpert. What diagnostic studies should be performed in patients with ischemic colitis? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Feuerstadt P, et al. Colon ischemia: Recent insights and advances. Current Gastroenterology Reports. 2010;12:383.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1604-7..C2009-0-42832-0--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-1604-7&uniqId=327451096-2. Accessed June 19, 2012.
- Theodoropoulou A, et al. Ischemic colitis: Clinical practice in diagnosis and treatment. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2008;14:7302.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. Aug. 28, 2012.
- Paterno F, et al. Ischemic colitis: Risk factors for eventual surgery. American Journal of Surgery. 2010;200:646.