Current Treatment Options in Gastroenterology

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 215-223

First online:

Nonsurgical therapy for solitary rectal ulcer syndrome

  • Phyllis R. BishopAffiliated withPediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • , Michael J. NowickiAffiliated withPediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, University of Mississippi Medical Center

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Opinion statement

  • The treatment of solitary rectal ulcer syndrome (SRUS) remains problematic and is less than ideal. Prospective, well-designed studies assessing the efficacy of treatment for SRUS are few; most of the knowledge imparted for treating SRUS is experiential. As such, firm treatment recommendations can not be made. Rather, a conservative, stepwise, individualized approach must be employed. Diagnostic modalities should be incorporated in the management scheme to direct treatment when indicated.

  • Management must include patient reassurance that the underlying lesion is benign, because complete “cures” are uncommon in those with SRUS. The goals of therapy should be discussed with the patient prior to initiating treatment. Although the ultimate goal is macroscopic and microscopic healing, a realistic goal is cessation or minimization of symptoms.

  • We outline a reasonable approach to the management of SRUS. Histologic confirmation of SRUS should prompt a discussion of the presumed pathogenic mechanisms with the patient. Conservative therapy with dietary fiber, bowel retraining, and bulk laxatives should be employed. If symptoms persist, the patient should receive a trial of sucralfate enemas for 6 weeks. Individuals who respond should continue conservative therapy. However, if symptoms persist, defecography can be done to assess for inappropriate puborectalis contraction and occult rectal mucosal prolapse. Patients with inappropriate contraction of the puborectalis can be offered biofeedback. Patients with occult rectal mucosal prolapse can be considered for surgery. However, the risks, benefits, and success rates of surgery should be discussed at length, prior to any procedure being performed. Rectopexy or Delorme’s procedure offer the best success rates to date; however, the choice of surgical procedure must take into account the experience of the surgeon and wishes of the patient.