The diagnosis of collagenous colitis or lymphocytic colitis is made after tissue samples taken during colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy are examined under a microscope. Collagenous colitis is characterized by a larger-than-normal band of protein called collagen inside the lining of the colon. The thickness of the band varies, so multiple tissue samples from different areas of the colon may need to be examined. In lymphocytic colitis, tissue samples show inflammation with white blood cells known as lymphocytes between the cells that line the colon, and in contrast to collagenous colitis, there is no abnormality of the collagen.
IBS is both frustrating and commonly diagnosed. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 Americans have IBS. Of those individuals, at least 50% are referred to a gastroenterologist after reporting symptoms to their primary care doctor. These symptoms range from cramping, bloating and general digestive discomfort to diarrhea and alternating constipation. Many people who suffer from IBS can’t predict when it will occur, so travel plans – and sometimes daily life – can be difficult at best. In the worst cases, individuals need to know at all times where the nearest restroom is located.