Here’s fascinating information on the possible connection between prostaglandins & pelvic cramping in microscopic colitis.
For this article I consulted with Dr. Jeffrey Fine, MD, chief of gastroenterology at the Medical Surgical Clinic of Irving; gastroenterologist at Star Medical Center in Plano and Las Colinas Medical Center, Irving. Dr. Fine has over 20 years of experience in gastroenterology, and he specializes in gastrointestinal diseases and food sensitivities.
I asked Dr. Fine this question:
Can microscopic colitis cause pelvic cramps (low ab cramps or aching) even if there’s NO diarrhea going on?
I’m not referring to the lower stomach discomfort from diarrhea building up.
In fact, there may not even be any recent diarrhea or ANY at all in a flare episode, but the patient nevertheless has been diagnosed in the past with MC.
(In inflammatory bowel disease, aches and cramps can occur in the absence of clinical gut problems.)
Dr. Fine explains: “I haven’t seen many cases like this, but it’s possible. Different people may experience different symptoms, depending on their age, gender, diet, exercise patterns, overall health, family history, and a variety of other factors.
“Prostaglandins are a likely mechanism for this. Prostaglandins are chemicals that generally cause inflammation, which can irritate the stomach lining or cause other complications.”
I then asked: Could pelvic cramping (in terms of location of the pain) be related to prostaglandins “running amok” and being released by the small intestines, causing spasms of their inner wall?
Dr. Fine explains: “This is conjecture, of course, but we know that prostaglandins are protective, so if they become overwhelmed or are turned off, there may be a shift in the cascade.
“We know that prostaglandins can cause contractions in the uterus, such as when PGE2 is used when a woman is in labor but isn’t contracting properly – so it is possible that the prostaglandins can cause contractions or muscle spasms elsewhere in the body.”
Fascinating! This then brought me to my next question:
In women, could microscopic colitis trigger prostaglandin release in the uterine muscle, thereby causing low abdominal (pelvic) cramping?
Though microscopic colitis is not a gynecological condition, I’m thinking that in terms of its associated prostaglandin release, there’s no discrimination where these chemicals are released.
“Other symptoms and conditions could become apparent with microscopic colitis,” says Dr. Fine.
“If prostaglandins are involved, they might trigger uterine contractions and/or muscle cramps. We know that prostaglandins can cause contractions in the uterus, when used in the medicine PGE2; so we can speculate that they might cause similar reactions in a woman who has microscopic colitis.”