While some people with microscopic colitis have it chronically “all the time,” is it possible that a lucky few might get a flare only once in their entire life?

For this article on whether or not microscopic colitis is a recurring problem or can you get it only once in your life, I consulted with John E. Pandolfino, MD, Director of the Esophageal Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Associate Professor, Division of Gastroenterology at Northwestern University.

I was inspired to cover this topic because I had microscopic colitis in 2010 and it resolved within eight weeks.

I registered with a microscopic colitis online community and posted that my doctor (not Dr. Pandolfino) told me that microscopic colitis usually resolves in a few weeks.

One of the community members said this was laughable, and that it’s a chronic condition.

This reminds me of a pamphlet I read on plantar fasciitis, a painful heel condition.

The pamphlet said once PF gets to the point where you need custom-made orthotics, it will be a chronic condition.

Some months after getting my orthotics, the PF was completely gone and has never returned. That was years ago! 

My point here is that it may seem that a condition, such as microscopic colitis, is necessarily chronic — that once you get it, you’ll get it again if it goes away — and again and again, back and forth throughout your life …

… or, you’ll have it continuously – because allegedly, there is no such thing as having a singular bout of microscopic colitis.

So, according to that premise, I’m going to get microscopic colitis again. I haven’t had a hint of it since 2010, when it was preceded by a horrendously stressful event in my life.

Dr. Pandolfino explains, “The natural history of MC is quite variable and depends on the type of MC — lymphocytic or collagenous.  The lymphocytic type is associated with a better outcome and can resolve — although it may return.”

Very interesting, because my type, indeed, was lymphocytic.

Dr. Pandolfino continues, “The collagenous variant is less likely to resolve, but still has a favorable outcome.  Certainly, avoiding the inciting cause — such as a particular medicine (e.g., NSAIDs), will help the disease to resolve, and it is also possible that some patients will have a chronic problem that may require maintenance treatment.”

Dr. Pandolfino’s practice covers a wide gamut of GI disorders including GERD, Barrett’s esophagus, benign and malignant tumors, swallowing disorders and esophageal disorders.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.