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Proctitis

Definition

Proctitis is an inflammation of the rectum. It can cause discomfort, bleeding, and the discharge of mucus or pus.

Alternative Names

Inflammation - rectum; Rectal inflammation

Causes

There are many causes of proctitis. They can be grouped as follows:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Harmful substances
  • Non-sexually transmitted infection
  • Sexually transmitted disease (STD)

Proctitis caused by STD is common in people who have anal intercourse. STDs that can cause proctitis include gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, and lymphogranuloma venereum.

Infections that are not sexually transmitted are less common than STD proctitis. One type of proctitis not from an STD is an infection in children that is caused by the same bacteria as strep throat.

Autoimmune proctitis is linked to diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease. If the inflammation is in the rectum only, it may come and go or move upward into the large intestine.

Proctitis may also be caused by some medicines, radiotherapy or inserting harmful substances into the rectum.

Risk factors include:

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

Exams and Tests

Tests that may be used include:

Treatment

Most of the time, proctitis will go away when the cause of the problem is treated. Antibiotics are used if an infection is causing the problem.

Corticosteroids or mesalamine suppositories may relieve symptoms for some people.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome is good with treatment.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

  • Anal fistula
  • Anemia
  • Recto-vaginal fistula (women)
  • Severe bleeding

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of proctitis.

Prevention

Safe sex practices may help prevent the spread of the disease.

References

Coates WC. Disorders of the anorectum. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2014:chap 96.

Fisher WE. The digestive system. In: Kellerman RD, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2015. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 8.

Kellerman RD. The sexually transmitted diseases. In: Kellerman RD, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2015. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 14.


Review Date: 4/20/2015
Reviewed By: Subodh K. Lal, MD, Gastroenterologist with Gastrointestinal Specialists of Georgia, Austell, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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