Collagenous colitis – Symptoms, Cause, Risk factors

Collagenous colitis

Collagenous colitis is one of the two main types of microscopic colitis. We know that the microscopic colitis is the inflammation in the colon which is best identified by looking at colon cells under the microscope. Lymphocytic colitis is the other type of microscopic colitis. Both types have the same signs, symptoms, diagnostic tests and treatment process. There are some studies in which are thought that collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis may be different stages of the same condition.

This condition is considered as a rare disorder and mostly it is affecting adults over 45 years of age. When someone has collagenous colitis, then a thick layer of the collagen (this is a type of connective protein) forms within the colon tissue. The symptoms of collagenous colitis can disappear and reappear. You should know that the collagenous colitis is not considered as a risk factor for colon cancer. There are some studies in which are shown that about 42 people in every 100,000 people are diagnosed with this condition.


Collagenous colitis

It is known fact that the duration, frequency and severity of the collagenous colitis can vary. People who have collagenous colitis can experience flare – ups when they experience frequent symptoms and periods of remission when they have few or no symptoms. Some people can have painful and disabling symptoms while other people can experience just mild discomfort. Some people can have flare – ups which last a few days or weeks while other people can have symptoms which last for months to years. The most common symptoms of collagenous colitis are next

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chronic water diarrhea

Also, there can be other less common symptoms, such as

  • Incontinence, which is the loss of bladder control
  • Urgency to go to the bathroom
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Gas or flatulence
  • Bloating
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration

This condition does not cause blood in your stools or increase your risk of getting colon cancer. It is known that the diarrhea can appear and disappear over a period of weeks, months or years. There are some studies in which are said that about 1/3 of people are misdiagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) because many of the symptoms of collagenous colitis and IBS overlap.


The collagenous colitis is affecting the colon which is the large intestine. We know that the colon takes a liquid mixture of digested food from the small intestine and it transforms it into solid stool before it delivers to the rectum, which will remove from our bodies. The collagenous colitis is causing general inflammation of the epithelium or base layer of cells which is lining the colon.

The cells of colon epithelium are vital for the organ’s overall performance because they can help the digestion and they will maintain a relationship between the immune system of the body and the healthful communities of microbes in the gut. The exact cause for collagenous colitis is not known. Bacteria or virus can cause it. Also, the collagenous colitis can be autoimmune conditions (like psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Graves disease and celiac disease) or genetically inherited. It is thought that smoking can lead to collagenous colitis. Also, certain types of medications can lead to collagenous colitis, This condition is not contagious and it cannot spread to other people.

Risk factors

It is noticed that the collagenous colitis is more common in women than men. Also, it is more common in people are in their 50s. It is known that women who suffer from celiac disease have increased chances of getting collagenous colitis. There are some studies in which are said that current smokers are having more chances of getting collagenous colitis. There are some studies in which are estimated that 4 – 13% of all chronic diarrhea cases are collagenous colitis. This maybe is happening because better detection is available. There are rare cases when the collagenous colitis was reported in children.


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