Food protein-induced allergic proctocolitis in infants: Literature review and proposal of a management protocol

Maurizio Mennini, Alessandro Giovanni Fiocchi, Arianna Cafarotti, Marilisa Montesano, Angela Mauro, Maria Pia Villa, Giovanni Di Nardo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Food protein-induced allergic proctocolitis (FPIAP) is a condition characterized by inflammatory changes in the distal colon in response to one or more foreign food proteins because of immune-mediated reactions. FPIAP prevalence estimates range widely from 0.16% in healthy children and 64% in patients with blood in stools. In clinical practice, FPIAP is diagnosed when patients respond positively to the elimination of a suspected triggering food allergen. Nevertheless, significant proportions of infants get misdiagnosed with IgE mediated allergy and undergo unnecessary dietary changes. Diagnosis is based on clinical symptoms, a good response to an allergen-free diet and the recurrence of symptoms during the “allergy challenge test”. Sometimes clinical features may be non-specific and the etiology of rectal bleeding in childhood may be heterogeneous. Therefore, it is crucial to exclude a variety of other possible causes of rectal bleeding in the pediatric age group, including infection, anal fissure, intestinal intussusception and, in infants, necrotizing enterocolitis and very early onset inflammatory bowel disease. The diagnostic workup includes in those cases invasive procedures such as sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy with biopsies. The high prevalence of FPIAP contrasts with the lack of known information about the pathogenesis of this condition. For this reason and due to the absence of a review of the evidence, a literature review appears necessary to clarify some aspects of allergic colitis. The aim of the review is to fill this gap and to lay the foundations for a subsequent evidence-based approach to the condition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100471
JournalWorld Allergy Organization Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Allergic colitis
  • Eosinophils
  • Rectal bleeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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