Collagenous colitis is a form of microscopic colitis marked by inflammation of the colon. Unlike other forms of colitis, however, this inflammation isn't visible along the walls of the large intestines. Instead, a tissue sample must be taken to discern the signs of this condition. Most of the time, collagenous colitis improves on its own, but you can make dietary changes to reduce its symptoms, including diarrhea and nausea.
You may need to reduce your fiber intake to minimize diarrhea. Fiber moves through the digestive system relatively intact, providing bulk to your stool and thereby encouraging bowel movements. By eating a low-fiber diet, you don't stimulate the bowel and thereby slow the passage of waste. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and whole grains are quite high in fiber, so your diet will typically include more processed and refined foods as well as cooked fruits and vegetables. Processing and cooking these foods lowers their fiber content. Your doctor or dietitian will work with you to establish the best eating plan for you.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends restricting fat intake to relieve diarrhea. The fat in foods can encourage the muscles of the colon to contract, explains the American Gastroenterological Association. Inevitably, this increases the movement of stool through the intestines, decreasing the amount of fluids absorbed by the intestinal walls. Stool remains loose and watery, and diarrhea persists. Foods high in fat tend to be animal based, such as cheese, butter, whole milk, cream cheese, red meats, pork and poultry skins. You also find fat in fried foods, foods made with shortening and even avocados.
Some people dealing with collagenous colitis need to steer clear of spicy foods. Meals prepared with hot or spicy ingredients can irritate the digestive tract upon ingestion and make symptoms associated with this condition worse, including diarrhea and nausea. You may need to go with blander options at first and slowly introduce foods back into your diet.
With collagenous colitis, fluid intake is crucial. The more diarrheas you pass, the more fluids you're losing, and the most effective method of replenishment is to drink water. You may also want to invest in sports drinks containing electrolytes as well as low-fat soups and broths.
- Cleveland Clinic: Microscopic Colitis
- MayoClinic.com: Collagenous Colitis/Lymphocytic Colitis
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Microscopic Colitis – Collagenous Colitis and Lymphocytic Colitis
- American Gastroenterological Association: Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome