Microscopic colitis is an inflammation of the large intestine (colon) that causes persistent watery diarrhea. The disorder gets its name from the fact that it's necessary to examine colon tissue under a microscope to identify it.
There are two types of microscopic colitis:
It isn't known whether collagenous (kuh-LAYJ-uh-nus) colitis and lymphocytic colitis are two separate disorders or represent different phases of the same condition. However, symptoms of collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis are similar, as are testing and treatment.
The symptoms of microscopic colitis can come and go frequently. Sometimes the symptoms resolve on their own. If not, your doctor can suggest a number of effective medications.
Colon and rectum
The colon, also called the large intestine, is a long, tube-like organ in your abdomen. The colon carries waste to be expelled from the body. ...
Signs and symptoms of microscopic colitis include:
When to see a doctor
It's not clear what causes the inflammation of the colon found in microscopic colitis. Researchers believe that the causes may include:
Risk factors for microscopic colitis include:
Some research studies indicate that using certain medications may increase your risk of microscopic colitis. But not all studies agree. Medications linked to the condition include:
It's not clear why some people who use these medications develop microscopic colitis while others don't.
Preparing for your appointment
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
Questions to ask your doctor
Don't hesitate to ask questions any time you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
What you can do in the meantime
Tests and diagnosis
A complete medical history and physical examination can help determine whether other conditions may be contributing to your diarrhea, including:
Your doctor will ask about any medications you are taking, particularly aspirin and ibuprofen, which may increase your risk of microscopic colitis.
Tests used to diagnose microscopic colitis may include:
During a flexible sigmoidoscopy exam, the doctor inserts a sigmoidoscope into your rectum to check for abnormalities in your lower colon. ...
During a colonoscopy, the doctor inserts a colonoscope into your rectum to check for abnormalities in your entire colon. ...
Treatments and drugs
Microscopic colitis may get better on its own without treatment. But when symptoms persist or are severe, treatment may be necessary to relieve them. Doctors usually try a stepwise approach, starting with the simplest, most easily tolerated treatments.
Diet and medication changes
Lifestyle and home remedies
Changes to your diet may help relieve diarrhea that you experience with microscopic colitis. Try to:
Last Updated: 2013-01-30
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