How Does Lymphocytic Colitis Differ from Ulcerative Colitis?

How Does Lymphocytic Colitis Differ from Ulcerative Colitis?

A typical inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that frequently develops in early adulthood is ulcerative colitis. A rare IBD that primarily affects older persons is lymphocytic colitis. Only a microscope can reveal its presence.

IBD conditions named ulcerative colitis (UC) and lymphocytic colitis (LC) both result in inflammation of the colon, which is the large intestine. Even though the two illnesses are similar, they are two separate, unconnected conditions.

The main distinction between the illnesses is that whereas UC may be seen during a colonoscopy, LC inflammation can only be seen under a microscope.

Continue reading to find out how the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and outlook of LC are different from those of UC.

What is lymphocytic colitis?

A form of microscopic colitis is LC. It results in inflammation that can only be observed under a microscope in the inner lining of the colon.

A chronic illness, LC. It is categorised as having inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). According to experts, LC may be brought on by abnormal immune system responses.

Types of microscopic colitis

Microscopic colitis comes in two different varieties. The tissue of the colon is altered differently by each type, but the symptoms and treatments are the same.
  • Lymphocytic colitis: White blood cells are more prevalent than usual in the lining of the colon.
  • Collagenous colitis: Under the colon lining, the layer of collagen is thicker than usual.

How do the symptoms of lymphocytic colitis differ from UC?

Different people experience LC and UC symptoms differently, and they can fluctuate.

Frequent, watery diarrhoea without blood is the primary sign of LC.

Watery diarrhoea and abrupt bowel urgency are the main signs and symptoms of UC. Blood, pus, or mucous may be present in the faeces.

The variations in symptoms between the two illnesses are broken down as follows:

SymptomsLymphocytic colitis (LC)Ulcerative colitis (UC)
watery diarrhoeaXX
abdominal painXX
bloody diarrhoea with mucusX
weight lossXX
mouth soresX
joint painX

What causes lymphocytic colitis?

Similar to UC, the precise cause of LC is unknown to experts. Both illnesses may be influenced by genetics as well as other immunological problems.

Other hypotheses under consideration by researchers include:
  • changes in your gut bacteria
  • infections
  • excess bile acid entering the colon

Who gets lymphocytic colitis?

Experts predict that 2-19 persons out of every 100,000 people will develop LC each year.

Anyone can develop LC at any age, although certain things make it more likely, like:
  • being female
  • being over the age of 60 years
  • smoking
Taking certain medications, including:
  • proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Having another disorder related to the immune system, such as:
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • celiac disease
  • psoriasis
  • type 1 diabetes
On the other hand, UC is typically discovered in people who are just entering adulthood.

How do doctors diagnose lymphocytic colitis?

The first step in distinguishing between UC and LC is a colonoscopy.

A flexible tube with a camera attached to the end is inserted into your colon during this surgery. UC symptoms will be seen during a colonoscopy.

A colon biopsy may be performed by the doctor during the colonoscopy. During a biopsy, a small tissue sample from the colon's lining is taken and examined under a microscope. A biopsy can support an LC diagnosis.

To check for parasites or other illnesses that might be the source of your symptoms, your doctor can also request a sample of your faeces. To rule out other inflammatory disorders, they could collect a blood sample and perform other testing.

What is the treatment for lymphocytic colitis?

Similar to UC, LC treatment tries to lessen inflammation and flare-up frequency.

Stopping any behaviour that contributes to the disease, such as smoking or taking drugs, is the first step.

To treat your symptoms, your doctor may give antidiarrheal medications like loperamide.

If you experience frequent watery diarrhoea, your doctor could additionally recommend additional drugs, such as:
  • cholestyramine
  • budesonide
  • bismuth subsalicylate


By changing your diet, especially by avoiding or restricting your intake of particular foods and beverages, you may be able to manage your symptoms.

Avoid or limit the following foods and beverages:
  • artificial sweeteners
  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • milk and milk products if you’re lactose intolerant
foods high in fibre, such as:
  • nuts and seeds
  • beans
  • raw fruits and vegetables
  • whole wheat bread or rice

To prevent dehydration while experiencing diarrhoea, make sure to drink enough water.

You might also think about maintaining a food log to assist in identifying the items that make your symptoms worse.

What is the outlook for people with lymphocytic colitis?

Like UC, LC is a chronic, lifelong illness. However, those who have LC occasionally go for extended stretches without experiencing any symptoms. Following treatment, many persons with LC experience remission within 6 to 8 weeks.

However, there are no known consequences of LC, unlike UC. For instance, LC doesn't raise your risk of colon cancer.


Both UC and LC are inflammatory bowel illnesses that result in large intestine inflammation. But there are significant variations.

Adults 60 years of age and older are more likely to have LC, whereas UC diagnoses are more common in adolescence.

UC inflammation can be found by doctors during a colonoscopy. They need a microscope to see LC inflammation.

If there is a connection between the two illnesses, researchers are presently investigating this.


Is ulcerative colitis the same as lymphocytic colitis?

They are not related to Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Can lymphocytic colitis turn into ulcerative colitis?

There have been cases of both collagenous and lymphocytic colitis developing into UC.

How serious is lymphocytic colitis?

It's not likely to cause serious or permanent damage to your colon

Is lymphocytic colitis curable?

There is no cure

Is lymphocytic colitis permanent?

While lymphocytic colitis is a lifelong condition.

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