Peter’s Story – Microscopic Colitis

Tell us a bit about you

I’m Peter, 79 years old. I’ve been married for 57 years to my wife, Kate. We have two sons and five grandchildren and live in North Hampshire. Much of my working life was in teaching, mainly P.E but I latterly retrained and worked as a Chiropodist. I enjoy walking, walking football, golf and painting and drawing.

Can you remember when your symptoms began?

It was around September 2021 when I began to feel general uneasiness in my stomach. My stools had become looser and runny and I needed to go to the toilet far more often, going up to seven to eight times a day. I would have incontinence episodes and on occasions wake in the morning to discover seepage on the bed sheet.

Concerned with the significant changes in bowel habits, I had an appointment with my GP who put me on the cancer check pathway. It was a worrying time, but I was pleased that it was going to be investigated. I had poo and blood tests and a colonoscopy (camera to look at the bowel). Thankfully there were no polyps or cancerous growths, but I still did not know the cause of my bowel problems.

When were you given your microscopic colitis diagnosis?

Unexpectedly, a few weeks later, I was given the biopsy (tissue sample) results taken of my bowel, which showed that I was suffering from mild microscopic colitis. It was a relief to get a definitive diagnosis, knowing something was not quite right and I could now put a name to it. As a result, I was prescribed loperamide to help manage the condition. This works well for me and fortunately, at long last my symptoms are now under control.

Is there any information you wished you’d received sooner?

I knew of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, but I would have liked to have known about microscopic colitis, a new term for me, before and after my initial diagnosis. Since seeing the consultant, I have been given contact details for their Hospital Support Team, which I have since needed to use.

Why are you sharing your story today?

Having experienced what it’s like to mess yourself and experience incontinence, you may feel like you don’t want to mention it to anyone. My advice is don’t be embarrassed, be on the safe side and have it checked out. My hope is that people will be given an accurate diagnosis, and not just be told you have IBS without any additional testing first.

The Microscopic Colitis Awareness Campaign that Guts UK is hosting will bring people’s attention to this lesser known bowel condition. With the right diagnosis you can get the right treatment.

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