What to Do for Microscopic Colitis

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Microscopic colitis is an illness in which signs of inflammation can be seen when bowel tissue is examined under a microscope. Microscopic colitis is not related to ulcerative colitis, a condition in which visible sores can be seen during a colonoscopy. Although microscopic colitis and IBS can have similar symptoms, in IBS there is no visible sign of inflammation, either during a colonoscopy nor under a microscope.

There are two types of microscopic colitis, collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis. The difference has to do with how the inflammation shows up under the microscope. Other than that, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment remain the same for both. The symptoms of microscopic colitis can be persistent or intermittent. The illness can last for years as there is no cure. However, in the majority of cases, the illness may resolve itself, although it often takes several years for this to happen.

Unfortunately, beyond medications and other medical interventions, there is not a lot of research as to how to best care for yourself if you have been diagnosed with microscopic colitis. However, information as to risk factors for the disease, as well as remedies for related conditions, do offer some common sense guidelines. Let's take a look at what you can do to help to resolve your symptoms.

Work with Your Doctor

1. Take your medicine as prescribed. Microscopic colitis is typically a mild disease, treated with budesonide and Pepto-Bismol.


    2. Assess your current medications. Some medications have been associated with raising your risk of microscopic colitis. Review your medications with your doctor and discuss possible alternatives if necessary. Do not take yourself off of any medications that you take regularly without your doctor's permission.

    Here are the more common medications that have been associated with microscopic colitis:

    Self Care Strategies

    1. Eat small meals throughout your day.

    2. Cut the following foods out of your diet:

    • Caffeine
    • Fatty, greasy foods
    • Foods, candies and drinks that contain artificial sweeteners ending in -ol

    3. Drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration:

    • Water
    • Broth
    • Drinks that contain electrolytes

    4. Rule out lactose intolerance.

    5. If relevant, stop smoking.


    Chande, N. "Microscopic colitis: An approach to treatment" Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology 2008 22:686–688.

    "Microscopic Colitis" Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America Website accessed October 23, 2015.

    "Microscopic Colitis" Mayo Clinic Website accessed October 16,2015.

    "Microscopic Colitis: Collagenous Colitis and Lymphocytic Colitis" National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Website accessed October 23, 2015.

    "Microscopic Colitis " Crohn's and Colitis UK Information sheet accessed October 23, 2105.

    Park, T., Cave, D. & Marshall, C. "Microscopic colitis: A review of etiology, treatment and refractory disease" World Journal of Gastroenterology 2015 21:8804–8810.

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