Angiodysplasia of the Colon


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
Normal Anatomy of the Large and Small Intestine
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Angiodysplasia of the colon is caused by dilated connections between veins and capillaries or arteries in the large intestine (colon).

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of angiodysplasia of the colon include:

  • Increasing age
  • Excessive or abnormal contractions of the colon
  • Injury to the GI tract
  • Heart problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Lung problems
  • von Willebrand's disease—a disorder of the blood
  • Blood vessel problems


Symptoms of angiodysplasia of the colon may include:

  • Dark, tarry stools
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Anemia
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness 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 tests
  • Stool tests

Your internal structures may need to be viewed. This can be done 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.

Medical Therapy

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.


Please note, not all procedures included in this resource library are available at Allegiance Health or performed by Allegiance Health physicians.

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Drink extra fluids throughout pregnancy to help your body keep up with the increases in your blood volume. It is important to drink at least six to eight glasses of water, fruit juice or milk each day.