Microscopic Colitis Awareness Week 2022

3rd April 2022

Our theme for Microscopic Colitis Awareness Week 2022 (4-8th April) is women and microscopic colitis, as women are 700% more likely than men to suffer with the condition. Today, we have launched a brand new resource to raise awareness of the little-known digestive condition.

What is microscopic colitis?

Microscopic colitis is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This group includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis too. As microscopic colitis causes inflammation in the bowel, symptoms include:

  • Persistent, frequent and watery diarrhoea
  • Waking in the night to empty the bowels
  • Urgency to empty the bowel
  • Stomach pain
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

Diagnosing microscopic colitis:

There are 17,000 new cases of microscopic colitis diagnosed each and every year. But the real number is thought to be much higher.

Microscopic colitis is under-diagnosed

As our new resource explains, microscopic colitis cannot be seen when you have an endoscopy (a camera looking at your digestive system), but in Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, the inflammation may be seen.

In microscopic colitis, a small sample of tissue (a biopsy) has to be taken of the bowel and examined under a microscope. Unfortunately this step is not always completed, so many people are left undiagnosed.

Microscopic colitis is misdiagnosed

In addition, one study showed that 1 in 3 people with microscopic colitis were initially incorrectly diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Microscopic colitis and women

Of those that are are diagnosed with microscopic colitis, almost 90% are female. Most are diagnosed between the ages of 50-70. More research needs to be undertaken to determine the reasons behind this gender disparity.

As many people develop microscopic colitis aged between 50 and 70, many women put their symptoms down to the menopause. But it’s really important to explore the avenue of microscopic colitis if you have symptoms, and seek professional help.

“All samples came through normal, so I felt disheartened”

Claire was diagnosed with microscopic colitis, even after her stool samples returned to her GP as normal. Claire was going to the toilet frequently, and with urgency too. She also had abdominal pain, and found herself waking in the night to go to the toilet.

“When I felt at my worst, I couldn’t even work or leave the house. I was so worried about having an accident. I contacted my GP again and pushed for a colonoscopy. Luckily, I was able to have a colonoscopy within a number of weeks and the person doing my colonoscopy took a biopsy too, which meant I was finally diagnosed with microscopic colitis. I have began treatment of budesonide, which I can feel is already working after just one week”. Read Claire’s full journey here.

How can I help?

  • During Microscopic Colitis Awareness Week, we want to reach and help as many people as possible. Please consider donating £3 a month to Guts UK. With your help, we can reach those suffering in silence and alone. Thank you.
  • Share far and wide! This week we will be spreading awareness across all our social media channels. Scroll to the bottom of this article to discover our socials and spread the word. You never know who we may reach together.
  • Fundraise for Guts UK. Whether you donate your birthday, run, walk, bake or shave your beard – our small but mighty gut army takes us one step closer to getting to grips with guts each day.

Support for this campaign has been provided by Dr Falk Pharma UK Ltd.

Discover more:

  • twitter
  • facebook
  • linkedin
  • youtube
  • tiktok
  • instagram

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