IBD, Ischemic Colitis, & Abdominal Pain

Ischemic Colitis.  A Painful Form Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Abdominal pain often brings patients in Los Angeles (and all cities across the U.S.) to the colon and rectal surgeon, also known as a proctologist.  Abdominal pain has many underlying causes and entire books have been written on the diagnosis and treatment of abdominal pain.

Inflammatory bowel disease is actually a family of diseases.  The two most common and well known of the family are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.  Less well known or understood is ischemic colitis. Ischemic colitis results when, for one of several reasons, there is low blood flow to a part of the colon.

Who Develops Ischemic Colitis?

Men and women are equally subject to the pain associated with this disease.  Ischemic colitis affects predominantly older people, those over the age of 60.  Those with cardiovascular disease are at increased risk.

What Are The Symptoms Of Ischemic Colitis?

Most patients report that it is the abdominal pain that brings them to the doctor.  They may experience bloody diarrhea, an alarming symptom.  Most patients resolve their pain or diarrhea after this initial phase.  However, some progress to a more severe form of the disease.

If the disease progresses, the affected segment of colon ceases to function.  The abdominal pain increases and there is abdominal bloating.

If there is further disease progression, intestinal fluids cross the bowel wall into the general abdominal cavity with resulting infection (sometimes life threatening) and possible death.  This phase requires immediate hospitalization at a hospital  such as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

How Is Ischemic Colitis Treated?

In its early phases, bed rests and supportive care, possibly with antibiotics is instituted.  Attempts are made to understand what caused the disease.  Problems such as blood clots to arteries supplying the colon must be diagnosed.  If the patient has low blood pressure from other causes, the blood supply to the colon may be diminished leading to ischemic colitis.  The underlying cause of the low blood pressure must be treated.  Finally, ischemic colitis may occur after the repair of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, and this may require reoperation.

I.V. fluids are given, along with antibiotics.  Patients may not eat or drink anything.  If the disease is severe enough, is non-responsive to conservative care or is life threatening, surgery to remove the diseased portion of the colon will be undertaken.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates

The surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates are experienced in the treatment of ischemic colitis.  They are board certified and able to care for all diseases of the colon, rectum and anus.

Whether you first meet your surgeon during your confidential consultation, or in the hospital as a consultant, you can rest assured that your care will be of the highest caliber.  Should you have any question, schedule a consultation by calling (310)273-1230.