Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Ischemic Colitis
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Ischemic Colitis

Last fall I was hospitalized for nine days for what was found to be ischemic colitis. I had been having attacks about every month to six weeks until the last one which was severe. Also had very high white count when admitted to the hospital. I have recently had another attack. I would like to know what causes or triggers these attacks.

I have come to believe that it may be related to food allergies. I took allergy shots for years when I was a child but stopped when I left home. I do know I have some food allergies. Prior to several of the attacks I did eat peanuts but other times there was nothing specific that I could remember. It seems that nearly everything I eat any more chokes me up and the ischemic attacks have many similarities to symtoms (symptoms) of ischemia. I did read somewhere that a mild allergy could trigger ischemic colitis. Any thoughts on this would be helpful.  Thank you.
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The cause of chronic ischemic colitis normally result from blockages in the arteries supplying the gut.  Many times, the blockages result from atherosclerotic disease.  Typically the pain may be increased by larger meals with a high fat content.  

I am not aware of food allergies being linked to the ischemic colitis.  If the symptoms continue, you may want to consider treatment including surgical revascularization or angioplasty.

You may want to discuss these options with your personal physician.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
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Generally, ischemic colitis implies an underlying problem with circulation. You didn't state your age: it's fairly rare in younger people, because the circulatory problems that cause it usually are associated with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries.) If the diagnosis is accurate, you ought to be having evaluation of the circulation to your gut to see exactly the nature of the problem and whether it can be corrected. The worst case scenario is the sudden loss of all circulation to a part of the gut, with disasterous consequences. If you haven't, you ought to consider seeing a vascular surgeon, assuming the diagnosis of ischemia is correct.
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