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Angiodysplasia of the Gastrointestinal Tract
occurs when blood vessels in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract become swollen. The swelling can weaken the blood vessels and cause bleeding. Angiodysplasia can occur in any part of the GI tract, but most often occurs in the colon.
Common signs and symptoms include the following:
You may not have any signs or symptoms. You may have bleeding from your rectum or blood in your bowel movements that come and go. Over time, this blood loss can lead to anemia. Anemia is a low number of red blood cells. This prevents your body from carrying enough oxygen to your body. Anemia can cause fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.
Seek care immediately if:
- You have heavy bleeding from your rectum.
- You have shortness of breath.
- You vomit blood.
- Your abdomen is larger than usual and very painful.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your symptoms do not improve, even after treatment.
- You have dark or bloody bowel movements.
- You feel very tired and weak.
- You have nausea.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may not need any treatment. The bleeding may stop on its own. You may need any of the following:
- Procedures may be done to seal or clot your blood vessels. Argon gas, a laser, or heat may be used to seal the bleeding blood vessel. Clips may also be used to close the bleeding vessel. These treatments may be given during an endoscopy or colonoscopy.
- Medicines, such as hormones, may be given to help slow or stop the bleeding. Other medicines, such as epinephrine, may be injected right into the bleeding vessels during an endoscopy or colonoscopy.
- Surgery to remove the affected part of your colon may be needed if you have severe bleeding.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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