Background and aims: Epidemiological studies have shown that ulcerative proctitis represents 25-55% of ulcerative colitis. In western countries, the incidence of ulcerative proctitis has been increased, while the incidence of more extensive colitis remained unchanged. Compared with extensive ulcerative colitis, the idiopathic proctitis seems to be a benign disease, with an extension to proximal segments in less than 30% of cases, low surgical and cancer risk. On the basis of epidemiological studies, not confirmed by endoscopic and histological features, it has been hypothesized that ulcerative colitis and proctitis could represent two different clinical entities. The aim of the study was to evaluate some clinical and demographic features related to the two different localizations, colitis and proctitis, in the attempt to clarify the above mentioned issues.
Methods: Demographic data of 156 patients observed in our institution from 1982 to 1999, were retrospectively analysed. Diagnosis, extension and severity of ulcerative procto-colitis were based on endoscopic and histological criteria. Local and systemic symptoms, extraintestinal manifestations, surgical and cancer risk, were also recorded.
Results and conclusions: Ulcerative proctitis has shown to be a benign disease, with a prevalence of local symptoms, less systemic and extraintestinal manifestations, and low endoscopic grades of activity. Furthermore no surgical intervention and cancer development were recorded. Extension to proximal segments was observed in 10.25% of cases. Young age of onset of symptoms,-smoking and appendectomy were associated to an higher risk of extension of the disease.