What is ischemic colitis?Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock
Ischemic colitis is kind of like a stroke or heart attack that affects your gut instead of the brain or heart, explains Arun Swaminath, MD, director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. In its simplest terms, there’s a drop in the blood supply that feeds the gut, causing symptoms such as pain and bloody diarrhea.
Here are some other medical reasons for your diarrhea.
Low blood pressureAfrica Studio/Shutterstock
Unlike high blood pressure—known as the silent killer due to the lack of symptoms—low blood pressure does travel with some clear signs, starting with dizziness and lightheadedness. This can be an early sign of impending ischemic colitis, says Will Bulsiewicz, MD, a gastroenterologist in Mount Pleasant, SC. When your blood pressure dips, your body kicks into safe mode, he says. “It wants to make sure that it supports the heart and brain so it clamps down on the blood vessels that supply blood to the colon,” he says. In other words, “we sacrifice the colon in favor of heart and brain.”
Check out these silent signs of low blood pressure.