Diagnosis and treatment of ulcerative proctitis

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2004 Oct;38(9):733-40. doi: 10.1097/01.mcg.0000139178.33502.a3.


Proctitis refers to inflammation of the rectum, a diagnosis made by endoscopic evaluation. Symptoms of proctitis include rectal bleeding, urgency, tenesmus, diarrhea or constipation, and occasionally rectal pain. The causes of proctitis include infection, medication, ischemia, radiation, and ulcerative proctitis. Ulcerative proctitis is an important and increasingly common subcategory of ulcerative colitis (UC) in which inflammation is limited to the rectum. Historically, oral aminosalicylates have been the mainstay of acute and maintenance therapy. A growing body of data, however, indicates that topical aminosalicylates are effective first line agents in ulcerative proctitis and distal UC. Topical aminosalicylates act more effectively and rapidly to induce and maintain remission compared with their oral counterparts or topical steroids. Rarely ulcerative proctitis is refractory to topical therapy and in these instances systemic corticosteroids, antibiotics, immunomodulators, or surgery is required. This review highlights the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of ulcerative proctitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diarrhea / diagnosis
  • Diarrhea / etiology
  • Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Mesalamine / therapeutic use
  • Proctocolitis / complications
  • Proctocolitis / diagnosis*
  • Proctocolitis / therapy*
  • Recurrence
  • Steroids / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Steroids
  • Mesalamine