Overview

Solitary rectal ulcer syndrome is a condition that occurs when one or more open sores (ulcers) develop in the rectum. The rectum is a muscular tube that's connected to the end of your colon. Stool passes through the rectum on its way out of the body.

Solitary rectal ulcer syndrome is a rare and poorly understood disorder that often occurs in people with chronic constipation. Solitary rectal ulcer syndrome can cause rectal bleeding and straining during bowel movements. Despite its name, sometimes more than one rectal ulcer occurs in solitary rectal ulcer syndrome.

Treatments for solitary rectal ulcer syndrome range from changing your diet along with fluid intake to surgery.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of solitary rectal ulcer syndrome include:

  • Constipation
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Pain or a feeling of fullness in your pelvis
  • A feeling of incomplete passing of stool
  • Passing mucus from your rectum
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Rectal pain

However, some people with solitary rectal ulcer syndrome may experience no symptoms.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice any signs or symptoms that worry you.

Other diseases and conditions may cause signs and symptoms similar to those of solitary rectal ulcer syndrome. At your appointment, your doctor may recommend tests and procedures to rule out other causes of your signs and symptoms.

Causes

It's not always clear what causes solitary rectal ulcer syndrome. Doctors believe stress or injury to the rectum may cause rectal ulcers to form.

Examples of situations that could injure the rectum include:

  • Constipation or impacted stool
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Rectal prolapse, which occurs when the rectum protrudes from the anus
  • Uncoordinated tightening of the pelvic floor muscles that slows blood flow to the rectum
  • Attempts to manually remove impacted stool
  • Intussusception, which occurs when part of the intestine slides inside another part
Aug. 18, 2015
References
  1. Zhu QZ, et al. Solitary rectal ulcer syndrome: Clinical features, pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment strategies. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2014;20:738.
  2. Solitary rectal ulcer syndrome. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/anorectal-disorders/solitary-rectal-ulcer-syndrome. Accessed July 7, 2015.
  3. Kim DJ, et al. Solitary rectal ulcer syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 7, 2015.
  4. Bope ET, et al. The management of solitary rectal ulcer syndrome. In: Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 7, 2015.
  5. Constipation. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/constipation/Pages/overview.aspx. Accessed July 8, 2015.
  6. Phillips RK, et al. Anorectal investigation. In: Colorectal Surgery: A Companion to Specialist Surgical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Limited; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 7, 2015.

Solitary rectal ulcer syndrome