What Medications Are Used To Treat Microscopic Colitis?

Microscopic colitis is an inflammatory disease of the large intestine (colon), which can be seen only under a microscope. It is marked by frequent watery diarrhea that may long for weeks, months or years. It is not as serious as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Its symptoms include pain and cramps in the abdomen, watery non-bloody stool, nausea, weight loss and fecal incontinence. The causes behind the condition are not known. The risk factors of the condition are smoking, some medications, genetic make-up, and autoimmune diseases.

What Medications Are Used To Treat Microscopic Colitis?

What Medications Are Used To Treat Microscopic Colitis?

For treatment of microscopic colitis condition, it is important to stop all the medications that provoke diarrhea as the first line of treatment. The medications that can be used to treat microscopic colitis are-

Medications That Stop Diarrhea– Anti-diarrheal medications like atropine, bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) and loperamide are prescribed to control diarrhea in microscopic colitis.

Medications That Regulate Inflammation-anti-inflammatory medications like sulfasalazine and mesalamine are useful to control inflammation in microscopic colitis.

Medications To Control Bacterial Growth And Kill Them– antibiotic medications such as erythromycin and metronidazole are used to treat microscopic colitis disease if it is caused by bacterial infections.

Medications That Block Bile Acids– the medications that regulate the secretion of bile acids, for example, cholestyramine resin are also helpful in treating microscopic colitis condition.

Corticosteroids– budesonide and prednisone are corticosteroids that can treat microscopic colitis.

Medications That Act On The Immune System– medications like mercaptopurine, methotrexate or azathioprine can control an exaggerated immune system that triggers autoimmune diseases leading to inflammatory conditions like microscopic colitis.

Microscopic colitis disease is treated successfully with the above medications. In spite of this, the disease can relapse again and again. For such condition, long-term treatment is recommended.

Surgery is required rarely in which a part of the colon that is damaged by the inflammation is removed.

Microscopic Colitis Diagnosis

Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy cannot detect the condition of microscopic colitis. It is diagnosed when a sample of the tissues of the colon-derived during colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy is studied under a microscope. Blood tests, stool sample analysis, upper GI endoscopy, and CT or MRI scan can also help to confirm the diagnosis

Microscopic colitis is an inflammatory condition characterized by irritation of the colon which can be seen only under a microscope. The inflammatory condition appears normal during colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. This condition is not similar to ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. It does not represent any cancerous condition.

Anyone can develop microscopic colitis. However, it is more common in females than males in adult age. Old people are more prone to develop the condition above 60- 70 years.

It is of two types

  1. Lymphocytic colitis
  2. Collagenous colitis

These two inflammatory conditions have different appearance under microscopy, but they represent similar symptoms and are treated by similar methods.

Microscopic Colitis Causes

Microscopic colitis exact cause is not clear till today. It can be caused by microscopic organisms like bacteria, viruses or toxins. A disturbed immune system can also trigger microscopic colitis in which the body’s defense mechanism attacks the cells of the colon. Some medications such as aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, heartburn drugs or some antidepressants can also cause microscopic colitis.

Microscopic Colitis Symptoms

Symptoms are mild and can come and go many times. The condition usually resolves by itself in a couple of days or weeks. The common symptoms of the condition are-

  • Frequent watery stool without blood
  • Constant urging for stool
  • Nausea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Painful abdomen
  • Urging for the stool at night during sleep
  • Involuntary stool
  • Bloating in the abdomen
  • Weakness and fatigue

Conclusion

Microscopic colitis is an inflammatory disease of large intestine characterized by persistent watery diarrhea and cramps in the intestine. It may resolve by itself in a few days or weeks. Medications such as corticosteroids, antibiotics, antidiarrheal, anti-inflammatory and others discussed above are used to treat this condition.

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