Microscopic Colitis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 8/3/2021

Microscopic colitis is a condition in which there is inflammation of the colon (large intestine) that is only visible when the colon's lining is examined under a microscope. The appearance of the colon lining in microscopic colitis is normal by when observed during colonoscopy, and the condition is diagnosed when a pathologist examines biopsies of the colon lining. Two types of microscopic colitis include lymphocytic colitis and collagenous colitis.

The main sign of microscopic colitis is chronic watery diarrhea. The diarrhea may be present for months or years before the diagnosis is made. The symptoms and signs usually begin very gradually and alternate with periods when the person feels well, followed by bouts of chronic diarrhea. In some cases, mild abdominal cramps or pain are associated symptoms.

Cause of microscopic colitis

The cause of microscopic colitis is unknown.

Other microscopic colitis symptoms and signs


Pancreatitis is inflammation of an organ in the abdomen called the pancreas. See Answer

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.