Bowel Talk

This time last year, I was diagnosed with a type of inflammatory bowel disease called Microscopic Colitis (MC). The condition gets it’s name because the large bowel (colon) lining looks normal during colonoscopy (a test to look inside your large bowel) and can only be seen when tissue samples are taken from the colon and examined under the microscope. The exact cause of microscopic colitis is unknown and treatment depends on the severity of symptoms which can range from mild to very severe. Some people recover spontaneously and continue to keep well, while for others the condition comes and goes. There is no cure at present.

Microscopic colitis is the term used to cover two types of bowel inflammation that affect the colon, called Collagenous Colitis and Lymphocytic Colitis. The main symptom of both these conditions is chronic (ongoing), watery diarrhoea without blood. Urgency and fatigue are also common. Nocturnal diarrhoea differentiates this condition from irritable bowel syndrome.

At first, my GP thought that I was suffering from an antibiotic-associated colitis (Clostridium difficile) as the severe colitis followed prolonged antibiotic treatment but repeat laboratory tests ruled this infection out. I was subsequently referred to a gastroenterologist who scoped my entire digestive tract and took biopsies for analysis. Two weeks later, the biopsy results confirmed a diagnosis of collagenous colitis and treatment was immediately commenced. As anti-diarrhoeal drugs had already proved ineffective in my case, I was prescribed the same anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s, with good effect.

Microscopic colitis is classified as a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but is different from and not usually as severe as the better known types of IBD, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). However, this condition is still commonly overlooked or misdiagnosed.

One year on from diagnosis, my colitis is well-controlled with an anti-inflammatory drug called mesalazine (Asacol). However, antibiotic use will still trigger a nasty flare-up and corticosteroids, in particular budesonide (Entocort), are required to bring it back under control.
As the saying goes, “What can’t be cured, must be endured!”
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to powder my nose.

Information Source:  The National Association for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease (NACC).

13 Responses to Bowel Talk

  1. Bendy Girl says:

    It never rains but pours for some of us! Glad to hear the treatment is working, hope your next check in Notts goes well & no more antibiotics for a while. BG Xx

  2. Lily says:

    Stph, very good explanation. Happy birthday soon 🙂 Best of luck with your upcoming UK appointment!

  3. Annb says:

    Well Steph as always – you continue to show true grace under (dare I say it?) Fire! Here’s hoping the summer brings health and happiness.

  4. Geri Atric says:

    MC sounds very nasty, but it’s good to hear that it is under control.
    Best of luck in Nottingham – but if you get taken short over there, don’t shout ‘duck!’ and take off running; because as you know, folk will just think you are calling out to a loved one – and not move aside(!!) (well maybe not in time anyway…).

  5. Steph says:

    Bendy – A very good analogy!

    Needless to add, I now dread needing antibiotics as the side effects are so awful.

    Lily – Thanks! Fingers crossed I don’t get volcanoed again. The surgeon’s advice is much needed at this stage so I’m determined to get to the appointment, by hook or by crook!

    Annb – The word ‘explosive’ comes to mind 😆

    It won’t be difficult to improve on last summer anyhow!

    Geri Atric – Luckily MC is very controllable with drugs (for me anyhow) except when antibiotics come into the equation.

    I have done a few trips to Notts where I had to make sure to sit next to the ‘dunny’ in case I got caught short. At this stage I know all the pit stops en route!

  6. Achelois says:

    a very helpful explanation, thank you.

  7. Steph says:

    Achelois – I hope you never need to use it!

    Microscopic colitis is a very much under-reported condition yet I’m sure many people who have a mild form of it, are simply told they have irritable bowel syndrome.

    The fact is, MC is highly treatable once the right drugs are prescribed. I wrote this post in the hope that it might help someone else to get properly diagnosed.

  8. magnumlady says:

    You give such hope and inspiration to people Steph, well done and I hope you stay well for a long time. xx

  9. Steph says:

    magnumlady – It’s lovely to hear that, thank you! 😀

  10. Grannymar says:

    Happy Birthday to you
    And repeat it by two.
    Bread and butter for your supper,
    Happy Birthday to you!

    ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
    ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
    ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
    ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
    ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
    ❤ ❤ ❤

  11. Steph says:

    Thanks! Grannymar 😉

  12. magnumlady says:

    Happy Birthday! xx

  13. Steph says:

    magnumlady – Well-spotted and thanks!

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