Rare Rheumatology News

Disease Profile

Lymphocytic colitis

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable



Lymphocytic colitis is form of microscopic colitis, a condition that is characterized by inflammation of the colon (large intestines). As the name suggests, microscopic colitis can only be diagnosed by examining a small sample of colon tissue under a microscope. In lymphocytic colitis, specifically, the tissues and lining of the colon are of normal thickness, but an increase in the number of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) is observed. Signs and symptoms of the condition may include chronic, watery diarrhea; abdominal pain, cramping, and bloating; weight loss; nausea; dehydration; and/or fecal incontinence.[1][2][3] The underlying cause of lymphocytic colitis is currently unknown; however, scientists suspect that autoimmune conditions, medications, infections, genetic factors, and/or bile acid malabsorption may contribute to the development of the condition.[2] Treatment is based on the signs and symptoms present in each person and may include certain medications, dietary modifications, and in rare cases, surgery.[2][3]


Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

Organizations Supporting this Disease

    Learn more

    These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

    Where to Start

      In-Depth Information

      • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
      • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Lymphocytic colitis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


        1. Microscopic colitis. Mayo Clinic. March 2016; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/microscopic-colitis/home/ovc-20192308.
        2. Microscopic Colitis: Collagenous Colitis and Lymphocytic Colitis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. June 2014; https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/microscopic-colitis/Pages/facts.aspx.
        3. Joyann A Kroser, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF. Collagenous and Lymphocytic Colitis. Medscape Reference. November 2015; https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/180664-overview.