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Solitary rectal ulcer syndrome

Solitary rectal ulcer syndrome is a condition that occurs when a sore (ulcer) develops 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 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 and fluid intake to surgery.

Symptoms Causes

Signs and symptoms of solitary rectal ulcer syndrome include:

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

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.

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:

  • Attempts to manually remove impacted stool
  • Constipation or impacted stool
  • Anal intercourse
  • Intussusception, which occurs when part of the intestine slides inside another part
  • Radiation therapy used to treat cancer in the abdomen or pelvis
  • Rectal prolapse, which occurs when the rectum protrudes from the anus
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Use of ergotamine suppositories, an anti-migraine treatment
  • Uncoordinated tightening of the pelvic floor muscles that slows blood flow to the rectum
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