Microscopic colitis is a relatively common cause of chronic watery diarrhea, often accompanied by abdominal pain and weight loss. The colonic mucosa appears normal grossly, and the diagnosis is made when there is an intraepithelial lymphocytosis and a mixed inflammatory infiltrate in the lamina propria. The two main subtypes, collagenous and lymphocytic colitis, are similar clinically and histologically, distinguished by the presence or absence of a thickened subepithelial collagen band. Many potential pathophysiological mechanisms have been described, although none have been conclusively proved. There is a paucity of randomized treatment trials in these patients, although a rational approach to therapy often leads to satisfactory control of symptoms.
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