A common type of bowel inflammation that affects the colon that was first discovered by medical doctors in Sweden in 1976 is called lymphocytic colitis. This is a condition where you experience chronic, watery diarrhea. This is a non bloody diarrhea. This condition is diagnosed in about 2 out of 100,000 older people in industrialized countries. There are abdominal pain or cramps and nausea associated with Lymphcytic colitis. This disease has to be accurately diagnosed by a medical doctor after a biopsy is done. A colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy may not reveal the inflammation because it is so microscopic. The biopsy involves removing a piece of the tissue in the lining of the intestines. The swelling and inflammation of the colon causes excessive diarrhea. Men and women both can suffer from this condition as it is not gender specific. However, more women than men are diagnosed with lymphocytic colitis. This disease is more commonly found in people who are between the ages of 60 and 80 as well. However there are some reported cases in people who are less than 45 years old. In rare instances a child can develop Lymphocytic colitis.
The cause of this condition is really unknown but is thought to be hereditary. Lymphocytic colitis is not contagious. Some in the medical field assume that it is caused by certain bacteria or viruses however. Another theory as to the cause is that the body’s immune system begins to destroy the healthy cells in the colon, however the answer as to why this would happen is not known. Certain lifestyle changes are helpful in reducing the symptoms. The reduction of fats and caffeine in the diet is most helpful. Also, those who are lactose intolerant should avoid dairy products. Over the counter pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen should be avoided. You should not drink alcohol or eat spicy food when you have this condition either.
Some medical doctors will prescribe anti-inflammatory mediations and or steroids to help reduce the inflammation. Mesalamine and sulfasalazine are the most common anti-inflammatories used. Budesonide and prednisone are the most common steroids used. However steroids should be taken with caution since they may also have negative side effects such as bone loss or increased blood pressure. Patients may also be given an immunosuppressant to reduce inflammation. Very extreme cases of lymphocytic colitis that can not be relieved by medications and lifestyle changes may necessitate the removal of the colon. Removal of the colon can be avoided if the lymphocytic colitis is treated early enough. This condition does not evolve into colon cancer, but it is still imperative to seek early treatment. Patients who have a mild case can be treated with anti-diarrhea preparations. Imodium or Lomotil can be successful in relieving mild to moderate cases of diarrhea.
When a person suffers from lymphocytic colitis they can have frequent bouts of watery diarrhea that can last for up to a month if they do not seek treatment. As a result they can also suffer from dehydration because of all of the fluids that are being expelled from the body. This brings about symptoms of fatigue. The person may also experience weight loss due to this condition.
It is important to seek medical attention and an accurate diagnosis before any type of treatment is begun. Most people who seek medical treatment early are able to make lifestyle changes to reduce their symptoms in about two to three weeks. Patients have reported relief from diarrhea after adding probiotic supplements to their daily diet. However, there are no scientific studies to substantiate these claims yet. You can buy yogurt that contain acidophilus which is a probiotic in grocery stores and health food stores.
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