A poor diet is not a primary risk factor for ischemic colitis, according to Mayo Clinic. Risk factors for developing ischemic colitis include the use of methamphetamine or cocaine, a bowel obstruction, or colon cancer. Problems that affect the circulatory system such as a blood clot in an artery or vein connected to the colon, extremely low blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or other blood disorders may also increase the chance of developing ischemic colitis.
Ischemic colitis occurs when the digestive system does not receive adequate blood flow, and the lack of blood causes inflammation of the large intestine, notes Everyday Health. Two-thirds of patients who develop ischemic colitis usually experience stomach cramps or another form of abdominal pain. Other symptoms include blood in the stool, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Ischemic colitis is also a risk factor for heart attacks in the elderly.
Mild cases of ischemic colitis may resolve themselves within a few days, but severe cases can cause tissue death, an intestinal perforation, and bowel inflammation or obstruction, explains Mayo Clinic. If these complications occur, a doctor may recommend surgery to resolve these problems.
People with only mild cases of ischemic colitis should still visit their doctor, who may prescribe antibiotics as a caution against infection or recommend IV fluids to resolve any dehydration, notes Mayo Clinic. Doctors may also counsel patients to avoid taking types of medication that could restrict blood flow while recovering.