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Proctitis

Inflammation - rectum; Rectal inflammation

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

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Digestive system
Rectum

Causes

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

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 to prostate or pelvis 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 or enemas may relieve symptoms for some people.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome is good with treatment.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

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.

Related Information

Chlamydia
Lymphogranuloma venereum
Amebiasis
Strep throat
Ulcerative colitis
Crohn disease
Radiation therapy
Autoimmune disorders
Anemia
Fistula

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. 2021 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines. www.cdc.gov/std/treatment-guidelines/proctitis.htm. Reviewed July 22, 2021. Accessed August 11, 2021.

Coates WC. Disorders of the anorectum. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 86.

Downs JM, Kulow B. Anal diseases. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 129.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Proctitis. www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/proctitis/all-content. Updated August 2016. Accessed August 11, 2021.

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Review Date: 4/21/2021  

Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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