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What is collagenous colitis?

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Quick Answer

Collagenous colitis is a type of microscopic colitis in which collagen builds up under the colon lining, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. This build-up irritates the colon, causing it to develop inflammation.

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Full Answer

Health care workers detect collagenous colitis by looking for thickness of the colon's lining through a microscope, IDDK reports. Collangeous colitis and lymphocytic colitis, a similar condition in which an overproduction of white blood cells irritates the colon's lining, are called microscopic colitis. They have similar symptoms and treatments.

The symptoms of microscopic colitis include nausea, weight loss, dehydration and mild abdominal pain, cramping and bloating. Additional symptoms include an urgent need to have a bowel movement or the inability to control bowel movements, especially at night.

Doctors do not know what causes microscopic colitis, but several factors are linked to the condition, states IDDK. They include autoimmune diseases, smoking, taking certain medications, infections, a family history and the inability to properly absorb bile, a fluid the liver produces to help the colon digest fats.

Treatment options depend on the severity of symptoms, explains IDDK. Medication changes from drugs that can cause the condition may be in order, as well as the prescription of medications to help with diarrhea and to treat the inflammation.

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