DefinitionProctitis is an inflammation of the rectum that causes discomfort, bleeding, and occasionally, a discharge of mucus or pus.
Alternative NamesInflammation - rectum; Rectal inflammation
Causes, incidence, and risk factorsThere are many causes of proctitis, but they can be grouped in the following categories:Autoimmune diseaseHarmful substancesNon-sexually transmitted infectionSexually transmitted disease (STD)Proctitis caused by STD is common among those who engage in anal intercourse. STDs that can cause proctitis include gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, and lymphogranuloma venereum.Non-sexually transmitted infections causing proctitis are seen less often than STD proctitis. The classical example of non-sexually transmitted infection occurs in children and is caused by the same bacteria that cause strep throat.Autoimmune proctitis is associated with diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.Proctitis may also be caused by certain medications, radiotherapy, and inserting harmful substances into the rectum.Risk factors include:Autoimmune disordersHigh-risk sexual practices such as anal sex
SymptomsBloody stoolsConstipationRectal bleedingRectal discharge, pusRectal pain or discomfortTenesmus (pain with bowel movement)
Signs and testsExamination of stool sampleProctoscopyRectal cultureSigmoidoscopy
TreatmentSuccessful treatment of the underlying cause usually cures the problem. Proctitis caused by infection is treated with antibiotics.Corticosteroids or mesalamine suppositories may relieve symptoms of some patients.
Expectations (prognosis)The probable outcome is good with treatment.
ComplicationsAnal fistulaAnemiaRecto-vaginal fistula (women)Severe bleeding
Calling your health care providerCall for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of proctitis.
PreventionSafer sex behaviors may prevent the disease from being spread during sexual activity.
ReferencesCoates WC. Disorders of the anorectum. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 94.Czito BG, Willett CG. Radiation injury. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 39.Giannella RA. Infectious enteritis and proctocolitis and bacterial food poisoning. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 107.Osterman MT, Lichtenstein GR. Ulcerative colitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 112.