Systemic Mastocytosis: A Rare Cause of Diarrhea


West Florida


Citrus Memorial Hospital

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



systemic mastocytosis, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, fecal incontinence


Allergy and Immunology | Gastroenterology | Neoplasms | Pathology | Skin and Connective Tissue Diseases


Mastocytosis is a spectrum of neoplastic, clonal cell disorders that are characterized by mast cell hyperplasia and accumulation. Disease and clinical presentation can vary depending on the extent of spread, ranging from skin-limited cutaneous mastocytosis to systemic mastocytosis that can mimic other disease processes. Symptoms may include pruritus, flushing, hypotension, headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Although gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are present in a majority of patients with systemic disease, the actual percentage of gut mast cell infiltration remains unknown. Here we describe a case of diarrhea secondary to GI involvement of systemic mastocytosis. A 55-year-old woman with a known history of systemic mastocytosis and medical noncompliance complained of persistent chronic diarrhea for one year. She was evaluated for other causes of diarrhea but all additional testing was unrevealing. She ultimately underwent upper endoscopy and colonoscopy in which biopsy and histologic analysis confirmed the presence of mastocyte infiltration. She was restarted on her medical therapy and her symptoms resolved. In conclusion, systemic mastocytosis is an uncommon cause of chronic diarrhea. However, in select patients, it is important to obtain a thorough medical history and exclude other potential causes.

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