Microscopic colitis is a health problem that affects the colon. It happens when there are too many immune cells in the inner lining of the colon. This can cause inflammation and harm to the colon, which can make it hard for the colon to work right. When this happens, people with microscopic colitis may have diarrhea that lasts for a long time. Some of them may also have belly pain, lose weight, and feel tired.
There are two types of microscopic colitis: lymphocytic colitis and collagenous colitis. In lymphocytic colitis, there are too many immune cells called lymphocytes in the mucosa of the colon. In collagenous colitis, there is an abnormal layer of collagen in the tissue where the epithelial cells connect with the lamina propria. Collagen is a protein that can trap blood vessels and immune cells near the surface of the epithelium.
- Age: microscopic colitis is more common in people over the age of 50.
- Gender: women are more likely to develop microscopic colitis than men.
- Family history: if you have a family history of IBD, you may be at increased risk of developing microscopic colitis.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, may cause microscopic colitis by damaging the lining of the intestine.
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): PPIs are a type of medication used to treat heartburn and acid reflux.
- Antibiotics: some antibiotics, particularly those in the tetracycline class, have been linked to an increased risk of developing microscopic colitis.
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs are a class of antidepressant medication that may increase the risk of developing microscopic colitis.
- Calcium channel blockers: calcium channel blockers are a type of medication used to treat high blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions. They may also increase the risk of developing microscopic colitis.
- Autoimmune conditions: people with autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, may be more likely to develop microscopic colitis.
- Smoking: smoking may increase the risk of developing microscopic colitis.
- Infections: some infections, such as clostridium difficile, may increase the risk of microscopic colitis.
- Environmental factors: exposure to certain environmental toxins may increase the risk of developing microscopic colitis.
Treatment for microscopic colitis may include medicine to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms, and changes to your lifestyle, like avoiding certain things that may trigger the condition and eating a healthy diet. In some severe cases, surgery may be needed. It is important to work with a healthcare professional to figure out the best treatment plan.
The main symptoms of microscopic colitis are diarrhea that lasts a long time, abdominal pain, weight loss, and feeling tired.
The exact cause of microscopic colitis is not known, but it is thought to be related to the immune system.
Microscopic colitis is usually diagnosed through a combination of a physical examination, blood tests, imaging tests, and a biopsy (removal of a small sample of tissue for testing).
Treatment for microscopic colitis may include medications to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms, as well as lifestyle changes like avoiding certain triggers and eating a healthy diet.
There is no known cure for microscopic colitis. However, treatment can help manage the symptoms and prevent complications.
There is no known way to prevent microscopic colitis. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including eating a balanced diet and avoiding smoking, may help reduce the risk of developing the condition.
No, microscopic colitis is not contagious. It is a chronic condition that cannot be passed from one person to another.
Uncontrolled diarrhea can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance which are dangerous.
Diet may play a role in managing the symptoms of microscopic colitis. It is important to work with a healthcare professional and a registered dietitian to determine the best dietary plan.