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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Microscopic colitis is long-term inflammation of your colon (large intestine). Inflammation can damage the lining of your colon and cause long-term diarrhea. Microscopic colitis may be caused by an infection, higher levels of acid in your colon, or the cause may not be known.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- You have trouble breathing.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have any of the following signs of severe dehydration:
- Dizziness or weakness
- Dry mouth, cracked lips, or severe thirst
- Fast heartbeat or breathing
- Passing little to no urine
- You have black or bright red stools.
- You have blood in your vomit.
- Your abdomen feels swollen or hard.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever with abdominal pain that does not go away.
- You have a fever, chills, cough, or feel weak and achy.
- Your diarrhea gets worse.
- Your symptoms do not improve or get worse.
- You are losing weight without trying.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Medicines may be given to treat a bacterial infection, decrease inflammation in your colon, or treat diarrhea. You may also need medicine to decrease acid levels in your colon that could cause irritation.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Manage your symptoms:
- Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. You may need to eat several small meals throughout the day. Avoid spicy foods, caffeine, chocolate, and foods high in fat.
- Drink liquids as directed to help prevent dehydration. Good liquids to drink include water, juice, and broth. Ask how much liquid to drink each day. You may need to drink an oral rehydration solution (ORS). An ORS contains a balance of water, salt, and sugar to replace body fluids lost during diarrhea.
- Start to exercise when you feel better. Regular exercise helps your bowels work normally. Ask about the best exercise plan for you.
- Ask about probiotics. You may need supplements that help balance the bacteria in your colon. This will help decrease you symptoms.
Prevent microscopic colitis:
- Clean thoroughly. Wash your hands in warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after you handle food. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a diaper, or touch an animal. Rinse fruits and vegetables in running water. Clean cutting boards, knives, countertops, and other areas where you prepare food before and after you cook. Wash sponges and dishtowels weekly in hot water.
- Cook food all the way through. Cook eggs until the yolks are firm. Use a meat thermometer to make sure meat is heated to a temperature that will kill bacteria. Do not eat raw or undercooked chicken, turkey, seafood, or meat.
- Store food properly. Refrigerate or freeze fruits and vegetables, cooked foods, and leftovers.
- Drink safe water. Drink only treated water. Do not drink water from ponds or lakes, or from swimming pools that do not contain chlorine. Drink bottled water when traveling.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Keep a written record of your bowel movements. Include the color, form, and if they were bloody. Bring this to your follow-up visits. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.