Melanosis Coli is caused when laxatives are used too much usually to relieve constipation. This condition doesn’t cause any symptoms and is most often discovered during a colonoscopy procedure examining the large intestine (colon). The normal pink color of the colon becomes discolored and turns dark brown or black and can be all thru the lining (uniform) or in a pattern (see pictures).
There is no medical treatment necessary for this condition. The patient should just stop overusing laxatives. Once the laxative use is stopped, the discoloration of the colon can be reversed. If constipation is still a problem, the doctor may recommend using a fiber supplement like Metamucil or Citrucel. Easting a low-fat diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, drinking plenty of water each day, and getting some exercise will help to reduce constipation.
Increasing Fiber in the Diet
Eating a well balanced diet with a variety of foods high in fiber helps with digestion. Include some of the following:
- Whole grains like whole wheat and oat bran
- Fresh fruits – the fiber is found in the fruit’s skin or the pulp
- Beans (legumes) like kidney, navy, lima or baked beans
- Root vegetables like baked potatoes with skin or carrots
- Drink plenty of liquids including water, fruit and vegetable juices
- Eat slowly and at regular times