Stercoral colitis

Last revised by Hoe Han Guan on 29 Mar 2023

Stercoral colitis refers to a condition where the presence of impacted feces in the colonic lumen is associated with inflammation and distention of the affected colon segment.

It is seen primarily in elderly patients (often bedbound as a consequence of dementia, stroke, or orthopedic surgery). Less frequently, it may also be seen in younger patients who have metabolic, neurologic and/or muscular disorders causing constipation. 

Symptoms are non-specific and include abdominal pain, abdominal distension, constipation, nausea and/or vomiting, and loss of appetite 6

Faecaloid formation is predominantly related to chronic constipation which leads to the development of a fecaloma (see article for possible underlying causes), which is a conglomeration of dehydrated fecal material. This causes distention of the colonic lumen and increases the pressure on the wall, which then decreases blood supply.

Typically shows a distended colon filled with feces and associated mural thickening. Other findings include fat stranding, mucosal sloughing, mesenteric hyperemia and extraluminal gas (if complicated by stercoral perforation).

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Cases and figures

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  • Case 4: with perforation
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