Ischemic colitis (Ischaemic Colitis – British English) is a medical condition in which inflammation and injury of the large intestine result from inadequate blood supply.

My mom was in the hospital for a few days (two weeks ago), and has been diagnosed with ischemic colitis.

I asked Dr. Saunders what he knew about this condition, and I’d like to share with you what he said:

“Ischemic colitis is a terrible illness.  It’s when the colon isn’t getting enough blood supply.  It’s equivalent to fibromyalgia in many other areas of the body, or Raynaud’s Disease in the hands.  It’s dangerous because when the cells of the colon don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients, they die.  If that happens, of course it ceases to function.  Sometimes there is a rupture with disastrous results.  The treatment is to increase the blood flow to the colon.
Blood flow diminishes due to many factors.  One of the primary factors is stress.  The adrenal hormones cause constriction of blood vessels.  Chronic stress has multiple effects on the body, depending upon the individual weakness.  Why the weakness is there has multiple reasons, most of which cannot be known.
The treatments increase blood flow.  There are several herbs, including Ginkgo Biloba, and Horse Chestnut Seed that can increase blood flow.  Some vitamin deficiencies make one more susceptible to decreased blood flow, especially those that are important for energy use, like the B-vitamins.  B-12 is a common deficiency, and may not be absorbed well so a series of shots (1cc 3x/wk for 4 wks) is sometimes helpful.
Ultimately, it’s important to find out why the blood flow is diminished – either there is something blocking the artery, or the brain is closing off the arteries to the colon.  Once the cause is determined, the treatment will follow.”

My mom is concerned that her blood pressure medication may have caused this… she is working with her doctor now to determine why the blood flow is diminished, and I’ll let you know if we find out more.