- Take the Tummy Trouble Quiz
- Boost Digestive Health
- Digestive Distress Slideshow: Problem Foods to Avoid
- Patient Comments: Melanosis Coli - Symptoms and Diagnosis
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
Quick Guide19 Constipation Myths and Facts
How is melanosis coli diagnosed?
Melanosis coli can be observed during endoscopic procedures that examine the large intestine, such as colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy . Sometimes the diagnosis is made upon microscopic examination of biopsies taken during endoscopic procedures.
What is the prognosis (outcome) of melanosis coli?
If a person stops using anthranoid laxatives, the changes associated with melanosis coli lessen over time and may disappear.
Early studies suggested that anthranoid laxatives might have carcinogenic or tumor-promoting activities in humans and that the presence of melanosis coli might signal an increased risk for the development of colorectal cancer. However, more recent follow-up studies have failed to show an association between colon cancer and anthranoid laxative use or between colon cancer and the finding of melanosis coli.
Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine
REFERENCE: Shazia Ahmed, M.D., and Naresh T. Gunaratnam, M.D. Melanosis Coli. N Engl J Med 2003; 349:1349October 2, 2003