Current Approach to the Evaluation and Management of Microscopic Colitis

Thomas G. Cotter, Darrell S. Pardi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Microscopic colitis is a common cause of chronic watery diarrhea, particularly in the elderly. The accompanying symptoms, which include abdominal pain and fatigue, can markedly impair patients’ quality of life. Diagnosis is based upon characteristic histologic findings of the colonic mucosa. This review focuses on the current approach to evaluation and management of patients with microscopic colitis. Recent Findings: Although the incidence of microscopic colitis has been increasing over time, recent epidemiological studies show stabilization at 21.0–24.7 cases per 100,000 person-years. Recent research has further expanded our knowledge of the underlying pathophysiology and emphasized the entity of drug-induced microscopic colitis and the association with celiac disease. Two recent randomized studies have confirmed the effectiveness of oral budesonide for both induction and maintenance treatment of microscopic colitis and is now endorsed by the American Gastroenterological Association as first-line treatment. Summary: The incidence of microscopic colitis has stabilized at just over 20 cases per 100,000 person-years. Celiac disease and drug-induced microscopic colitis should be considered in all patients diagnosed with microscopic colitis. There are a number of treatments available for patients with microscopic colitis; however, budesonide is the only option well studied in controlled trials and is effective for both induction and maintenance treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8
JournalCurrent gastroenterology reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Large intestine
  • Microscopic colitis
  • Microscopic colitis management
  • Microscopic colitis treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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