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Ischemic colitis (IC) is inflammation that most often results from lowered blood flow to the colon, according to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation (CCF). The colon is part of the digestive system. (Read about "Digestive System") Symptoms of ischemic colitis include:
Ischemic colitis is often confused with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease (Read about "Ulcerative Colitis" "Crohn's Disease") because the symptoms are much the same.
IC tends to affect those over the age of 50. You may be at a higher risk if you have or have had any of the following:
In some cases, IC can be triggered by medications or infections. IC can also develop as a complication of abdominal aortic surgery.
IC can be diagnosed using several tests, including colonoscopy. During colonoscopy, a flexible lighted tube is inserted into your rectum and guided into the colon. (Read about "Crohn's Disease") A sample of the colon may also be taken to biopsy. (Read about "Biopsy")
CCF says that IC may clear up on its own never to be a problem again, but it also can become chronic. You should contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms, according to CCF, because in some cases there can be serious complications.
If symptoms are mild, treatment may focus on keeping the underlying conditions in control. You may be given antibiotics to prevent infection. (Read about "Antibiotics") More severe cases may require surgery to remove the affected portion of the colon.
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
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