Objective: The term "microscopic colitis" includes lymphocytic colitis (LC) and collagenous colitis, bearing common clinical presentation distinguishable only by histopathological examination of colonic biopsies. This study reports on demographic and clinical characteristics, and outcome of a cohort of patients with LC.
Methods: Demographic, clinical and histopathological data were reviewed. Every patient underwent total colonoscopy with multiple biopsies examined by an expert pathologist. Diagnosis of LC was confirmed if histopathological criteria were present. Routine laboratory tests were collected to rule out other diagnosis.
Results: We included 80 patients (28 males; mean age: 46.4 years). At diagnosis, 71 patients (88%) reported diarrhea, 46 (58%) abdominal pain, 21 (36%) weight loss, 10 (13%) nausea. Regarding autoimmune or inflammatory diseases accompanying LC, thyroid disorders and celiac disease (CD) ranked first. Moreover, in over 10% of patients who underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy, duodenal biopsies showed villi alterations classified as Marsh I damage, without clinical and serological data for diagnosis of CD. Mesalazine and oral topical steroids (budesonide or beclomethasone) were used to treat LC in 34 (43%) and 32 (39%) of patients, respectively, with similar percentages of clinical response (approximately 80%).
Conclusions: The need for total colonoscopy with multiple biopsies in all patients with chronic watery diarrhea was confirmed. Since the association between CD and LC exists, additional tests should be performed in patients not responding to gluten-free diet or to LC specific therapy to exclude the other condition. Mesalazine obtained a similar outcome than oral steroids in this cohort.