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Microscopic Colitis

What is Microscopic Colitis?

Microscopic colitis is a chronic condition which causes inflammation of the large bowel or colon. These conditions are referred to as microscopic, because unlike other inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohns disease and Ulcerative colitis, there is no sign of inflammation of the lining of the intestine when viewed during a colonoscopy procedure. Microscopic colitis can only be diagnosed by biopsies of the colon which demonstrate inflammation on the microscope. The cause of microscopic colitis is unknown.

What are the symptoms Microscopic Colitis & who gets it?

Microscopic colitis typically causes chronic watery diarrhoea. These symptoms may either occur on an intermittent or continuous basis. Other associated symptoms may include abdominal discomfort, weight loss and lethargy.?Microscopic colitis is a relatively uncommon condition, and is generally diagnosed in middle aged and elderly individuals.

How is Microscopic Colitis diagnosed?

Microscopic colitis diagnosed on biopsies of the colon demonstrating characteristic collagen changes or an increased number of lymphocytes in the lining of the intestine. The inflammatory changes seen in microscopic colitis may only be patchy and not affect the entire colon, and so multiple biopsies from different parts of the colon are needed.

How is Microscopic Colitis treated?

The treatment for microscopic colitis depends on the severity of the symptoms, and can include anti-diarrhoeal, anti-inflammatories (e.g. sulfasalazine or mesalazine) or steroids (e.g. budesonide). Some people are able to cease their medication without a recurrence in their symptoms, although relapse requiring repeated medical therapy may also occur.