Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Colitis is the general inflammation of the colon. The differentiation between the different type of colitis is done on the basis of severity and the characteristic symptoms presented. The moderate inflammation of colon with non-bloody and watery diarrhea with no noticeable inflammation is the feature of microscopic colitis. The diagnosis is done through the biopsy of the tissues of the colon to examine the inflammation and the deposition of collagen. The severe form of colitis is ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease which is characterized by the bloody diarrhea and can be diagnosed without any invasive procedures. However, it is yet to be determined whether the disease progresses from the moderate form of the colitis to more severe form of colitis.

Can Microscopic Colitis Turn Into Crohn's Disease?

Difference between the microscopic colitis and the Crohn’s disease is that there is watery diarrhea in the former and bloody diarrhea in the latter. Another difference is that the diagnosis of microscopic colitis is done by the tissue examination. Apart from the above two differences, the other symptoms of both the conditions are almost similar. Thus, the question arises whether the moderate condition i.e. microscopic colitis if chronic, is transformed into a severe condition i.e. Crohn’s disease.

The collagenous colitis is found to be more complex as compared to lymphocytic colitis and the former is majorly responsible for the complications occurring due to microscopic colitis. There are few reports that states that the collagenous colitis may sometime transformed in to Crohn’s disease, but the predisposition factor for this transformation remains unknown. However, it has also been found that the patients who were diagnosed with Crohn’s disease later on developed microscopic colitis.

The relationship between the microscopic colitis and Crohn’s disease is not known as there are cases wherein the microscopic colitis is developed in to Crohn’s disease and vice versa. There is also simultaneous representation of both the condition in some patients. Simultaneous presence of ulcerative colitis, microscopic colitis and Crohn’s disease is also reported. From the data available at present, it can be concluded that the chances of getting Crohn’s disease from the microscopic colitis are very rare.

Microscopic Colitis Vs Crohn's Disease

Microscopic colitis is characterized by the watery diarrhea without any blood while the Crohn’s disease is characterized by the bloody diarrhea. The tissue of the colon is not exposed in the microscopic colitis while it is exposed in the Crohn’s disease. Also, the microscopic colitis cannot be diagnosed through the normal diagnostic procedures and the affected tissue is to be examined under the microscope, while in case of Crohn’s disease, the condition can be easily diagnosed with the normal diagnostic methods and no invasive technique is required.

The microscopic colitis is moderate form of colon inflammation while the Crohn’s disease is a severe form of colon inflammation. Further, it has been found that there is no increased risk of cancer in the patients with microscopic colitis while the risk of cancer increased in patients with Crohn’s disease. The cause of inflammation lies beneath the colon epithelium in case of microscopic colitis while the cause of inflammation is exposed, and the blood is weeping out causing bloody diarrhea in case of Crohn’s disease. Both the conditions are due to the immunological activity and both have almost the other symptoms identical such as abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea, fatigue and muscle and joint pain.

Conclusion

There are underlying differences between the microscopic colitis and Crohn’s disease. One is the moderate form while the other is severe form. Various researchers have conducted studies and analyzed the historical data to determine the risk of transforming microscopic colitis to Crohn’s disease. There are few reports suggesting that microscopic colitis developed in to Crohn’s disease and vice versa. Some also reported the presence of both conditions simultaneously. But these may be a coincidence as concrete data remains unavailable. According to the data available, the microscopic colitis rarely develops in to Crohn’s disease.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: October 31, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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