Ischemic colitis occurs when blood flow to part of the large intestine (colon) is reduced due to narrowed or blocked blood vessels (arteries). The diminished blood flow provides insufficient oxygen for the cells in your digestive system. It can cause pain and can damage your colon. Ischemic colitis can affect any part of the colon, but most people experience pain on the left side of the belly area (abdomen).

Ischemic colitis is most common among people older than age 60. It can be misdiagnosed because it can easily be confused with other digestive problems. Ischemic colitis may heal on its own. But you may need medication to treat or prevent infection, or surgery if your colon has been damaged.

Oct. 10, 2012