Microscopic colitis is considered a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but is not as serious as the more well known types of IBD, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. There are two subtypes of the condition, lymphocytic and collagenous. The disease is not visible during a colonoscopy and must be diagnosed by biopsy of the lining of the colon and the two types are descriptive of the appearance of the sample under a microscope.
Microscopic colitis is diagnosed more in women than in men. It is more common in people over the age of 65, but approximately 25% of those diagnosed are under 45. The main symptom of both types is chronic watery, non-bloody, diarrhea.
Certain medications have been linked to the development of microscopic colitis and to flare ups of the symptoms. Over the counter pain medications known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are the most commonly mentioned in studies of the condition.
Other risk factors include smoking, autoimmune disorders, family history, and some genetic conditions. Microscopic colitis is also, at times, seen with associated conditions like celiac disease, type one diabetes, and autoimmune disorders of the thyroid.
Microscopic colitis is considered chronic and the goal for treatment is to achieve remission. There are medications that can be effective in managing the symptoms and your Cary Gastro physician will work with you to find the regimen that works for you. Patients are often advised to avoid NSAIDS if possible and to also eliminate other medications that may trigger flare-ups.
Contact Cary Gastroenterology today if you have questions or concerns about microscopic colitis or IBD.