What is melanosis coli?
Melanosis coli is a change in the color of the lining of the colon (large intestine). The lining has changed from a light pink to a dark brown or black and is seen during the colonoscopy test.
What causes melanosis coli?
The change in color is due to deposits of dark pigment in the lining of the colon. The change in color may be slight or very distinct. Melanosis coli is usually caused by long term laxative use.
How is melanosis coli treated?
Stopping the use of certain laxatives may lessen the change in color over time. Do not use laxatives with Senna or Cascara in them. In some severe cases melanosis coli may slow down your bowel function.
For constipation, or help with moving your bowels, first start with increasing the fiber in your diet. If you need more fiber try natural dietary fiber supplements. Bulking agents and stool softening products can be purchased over the counter to help increase your fiber intake. Look for products that contain psyllium or methycellulose fiber like Metamucil, Citrucel, Benafiber, Fiber Com or their generic version.
Tips for increasing fiber in your diet
The average American does not eat enough of the recommended 20 to 35 grams a day of fiber. High fiber foods can be found in the food groups you eat everyday. Eating a well-balanced meal with a variety of foods high in fiber every day helps with digestion.
- Legumes -which includes beans: kidney, pinto, navy, lima and baked beans
- Whole Grains – whole wheat, and oat bran found in many cereal and breads. Be careful and look for the whole grain content
- Whole Fresh Fruits – the valuable fiber is found in the skin and pulp of the fruit
- Green Leafy Vegetables – lettuce, spinach, celery, and broccoli are good examples.
- Root Vegetables – baked potatoes with skin, carrots
- Drink plenty of liquids – including water, fruit and vegetable juices. Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.
- Eat meals at regular intervals
- Eat slowly and chew food thoroughly to help digestion work well