WHAT IS MICROSCOPIC COLITIS?
Microscopic colitis is a type of inflammation of the colon, or large intestine, that can cause watery diarrhea and cramping. It can be painful and unpleasant. But in most cases, it's much less severe than other types of inflammatory bowel disease. The reason it's called microscopic colitis, is because the inflammation is too small to be seen with the naked eye. Microscopic colitis is not related to the more serious types of bowel disease: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
WHAT CAUSES MICROSCOPIC COLITIS?
Experts aren't sure why people get microscopic colitis, but bacteria, toxins, or viruses are possible causes. It could also be related to a problem with your immune system. Your body may react to a false threat and start to attack the cells in your own digestive tract.
Some medications can make you more likely to get microscopic colitis, including:
- Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Heartburn drugs
- Certain antidepressants
Anyone can get microscopic colitis. But it's more common in women and in people 45 or older. It may also run in families.
WHAT ARE MY TREATMENT OPTIONS?
Sometimes, microscopic colitis goes away on its own. If not, your doctor may suggest you take these steps:
- Avoid food, drinks or other things that could make symptoms worse, like caffeine, dairy, and fatty foods.
- Take fiber supplements.
- Stop taking medication that could trigger symptoms.
If those don't work, your doctor may suggest medications:
- Over-the-counter drugs to stop diarrhea, such as Imodium and Pepto-Bismol.
- Prescription drugs to reduce swelling, such as cholestyramine or steroids.
If these treatments don't work, you may need medications to suppress the immune system, such as azathioprine (Imuran). Surgery for microscopic colitis is an option, but very few people ever need it.
For most people with microscopic colitis, treatment generally works well. Some people have relapses after they stop treatment.
If you believe you may be experiencing microscopic colitis, call Dr. Ashwath's office to schedule a visit right away.
** Sourced from Webmd.com