Angiodysplasia of the colon occurs when blood vessels in the colon enlarge. They may become fragile and result in occasional bleeding in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Normal Anatomy of the Intestines
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Angiodysplasia of the colon is caused by dilated connections between veins and capillaries or arteries in the large intestine (colon).
Factors that may increase your risk of angiodysplasia of the colon include: Increasing ageExcessive or abnormal contractions of the colonInjury to the GI tractHeart problemsKidney problemsLung problemsvon Willebrand's disease—a disorder of the bloodBlood vessel problems
Symptoms of angiodysplasia of the colon may include: Dark, tarry stoolsBleeding from the rectumAnemiaWeaknessFatigueShortness of breath
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids and waste may be tested. This can be done with: Blood testsStool tests
Your internal structures may need to be viewed. This can be done with: ColonoscopyUpper endoscopy (EGD)
Radiology testing with
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment may not be necessary, since about 90% of cases of angiodysplasia of the colon stop bleeding on their own. Treatment options include the following:
Your doctor can often treat tissues with heat to seal bleeding blood vessels during a colonoscopy.
The blood supply to the bleeding area can be clotted through angiography.
Hormonal therapy with estrogen can be helpful for some causes.
Medications called somatostatin analogs may be used to prevent bleeding in some people.
Surgery to remove the affected area of the colon may sometimes be necessary.
There are no current guidelines to prevent angiodysplasia of the colon.
American Gastroenterological Association.
AGA guideline: Evaluation and management of occult and obscure gastrointestinal bleeding.
Gastrointestinal angiodysplasia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
Updated June 2, 2014. Accessed June 16, 2014.
6/19/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Jackson CS, Gerson LB. Management of gastrointestinal angiodysplastic lesions (GIADs): A systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2014;109(4):474-483.
Last reviewed February 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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