The precise cause of diminished blood flow to the colon isn't always clear. But several factors can increase your risk of ischemic colitis:
- 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. 13, 2015
- Some heart and migraine medications
- Hormone medications, such as estrogen
- Certain medications for irritable bowel syndrome
- Chemotherapy medications
- Brandt LJ, et al. ACG clinical guideline: Epidemiology, risk factors, patterns of presentation, diagnosis, and management of colon ischemia (CI). American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2015;110:18.
- Grubel P, et al. Colonic ischemia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 27, 2015.
- Navid K, et al. Ischemic colitis. Hospital Medicine Clinics. 2015;4:216.
- Yaddav S, et al. A population-based study of incidence, risk factors, clinical spectrum, and outcomes of ischemic colitis. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2015;13:731.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. July 29, 2015.