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Proctitis is an inflammation of the rectum.


Proctitis affects mainly adolescents and adults. It is most common in men around age 30. Proctitis is caused by several different sexually transmitted diseases. Male homosexuals and people who practice anal intercourse are more likely to suffer from proctitis. Patients who have AIDS or who are immunocompromised are also more at risk.

Causes and symptoms

Proctitis is caused most often by sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes simplex (genital herpes), candidiasis, and chlamydia. It can also be caused by inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis (a chronic recurrent ulceration in the colon)-with which it is a very common component. Occasionally it is caused by an amoeba that causes dysentery.
Discharge of blood and mucus and intense pain in the area of the rectum and anus are all signs of proctitis. Patients feel the urge to have frequent bowel movements even when there is nothing present to eliminate. They may also have constipation, diarrhea, fever, and open sores around the anus. Other symptoms include cramping, lower back pain, difficulty urinating, and impotence.


Proctitis is diagnosed by a patient history and physical examination. It is confirmed by a proctoscopy (examination of the rectum with an endoscope inserted through the anus). Proctoscopy usually shows a red, sore, inflamed lining of the rectum. Biopsies, smears, and lab cultures of rectal material are used to determine the exact cause of the inflammation so that the underlying cause can be treated appropriately.
Since the two problems often occur together, in the presence of proctitis, the large bowel should be examined for ulcerative colitis.


Once the underlying cause of the inflammation is diagnosed, appropriate treatment begins. Antibiotics are given for bacterial infections. There is no cure for genital herpes, but the antiviral drug, acyclovir, is often prescribed to reduce symptoms. Corticosteroid suppositories or ointments such as hydrocortisone are used to lessen discomfort, and the patient is encouraged to take warm baths to ease painful symptoms. Ulcerative proctitis often responds well to corticosteroid enemas or foam, or to sulfasalazine and related drugs.

Alternative treatment

Depending on the cause of proctitis, alternative medicine has several types of treatments available. If proctitis is related to gonorrhea, syphilis, or chlamydia, appropriate antibiotic treatment is recommended. Supplementation with Lactobacillus acidophilus is also recommended during and following antibiotic therapy to help rebuild normal gut flora that is destroyed by antibiotics. If proctitis is herpes-related, antiviral herbs taken internally, as well as applied topically, can be be helpful. Sitz baths and compresses of herbal infusions (herbs steeped in hot water) and decoctions (herbal extracts prepared by boiling the herb in water) can be very effective. Among the herbs recommended are calendula (Calendula officinalis), comfrey (Symphytum officinale), and plantain (Plantago major). Proctitis related to candidiasis requires dietary alterations, especially elimination of sugar from the diet. Any immunocompromised person needs close medical attention. If proctitis is related to inflammatory bowel diseases, the resolution of the underlying condition should contribute to resolution of the proctitis. Acupuncture and homeopathic treatment can be very useful in resolving inflammatory bowel diseases.


Proctitis caused by bacteria is curable with antibiotics. Genital herpes is not curable. Although symptoms can be suppressed, proctitis may reoccur. Patients with AIDS are especially susceptible to candidiasis infections, which may be hard to control. Recovering from proctitis caused by inflammatory bowel diseases is variable and depends on successful management of those diseases. Severe proctitis can result in permanent narrowing of the anus.


Proctitis is best prevented by using condoms and practicing safer sex to prevent acquiring sexually transmitted diseases. Avoiding anal intercourse also helps prevent damage to the rectum.



ThriveOnline. "Proctitis."

Key terms

Candidiasis — A common fungal infection caused by yeast that thrives in moist, warm areas of the body.
Chlamydia — A gonorrhea-like bacterial infection.
Proctoscopy — A procedurein which a thin tube containing a camera and a light is inserted into the rectum so that the doctor can visually inspect it.
Rectum — The final section of the large intestine.
Ulcerative colitis — Chronic ulceration of the colon and rectum.


inflammation of the rectum.
ulcerative proctitis recurrent ulceration of the mucosa of the rectum, probably a variant of ulcerative colitis.


Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the rectum.
Synonym(s): rectitis
[proct- + G. -itis, inflammation]


/proc·ti·tis/ (prok-ti´tis) inflammation of the rectum.


Inflammation of the rectum or anus.


Etymology: Gk, proktos, anus, itis
inflammation of the rectum and anus caused by infection, trauma, drugs, allergy, or radiation injury. Acute or chronic, it is accompanied by rectal discomfort and the repeated urge to pass feces and inability to do so. Pus, blood, or mucus may be present in the stools, and tenesmus may occur. Also called rectitis.


Rectal inflammation Surgery Anal and rectal inflammation, linked to anal sex, high-risk sexual practices, homosexuality Clinical Tenderness, hemorrhage, ± discharge of mucus or pus Etiology STDs–gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, lymphogranuloma venereum, amebiasis; non-STD infections–rare–eg, in children, due to beta-hemolytic streptococcus; autoimmune proctitis–ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease; physical agents–chemicals per rectum, drugs, RT. See Gay bowel disease, Pseudoinfectious proctitis, Streptococcal proctitis.


Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the rectum.
Synonym(s): rectitis.
[proct- + G. -itis, inflammation]


Inflammation of the RECTUM. This causes pain, bleeding and often a discharge of mucus and pus. Proctitis is commonly associated with ULCERATIVE COLITIS, CROHN'S DISEASE, DYSENTERY or sexually transmitted diseases in people engaging in anal intercourse. The treatment is directed to the cause.


Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the rectum.
Synonym(s): rectitis.
[proct- + G. -itis, inflammation]


n an inflammation of the rectum and anus caused by infection, trauma, drugs, allergy, or radiation injury.


inflammation of the rectum.

ulcerative proctitis
an early stage in the development of rectal stricture in pigs. See also rectal stricture.
References in periodicals archive ?
Several other witnesses for the Crown have given evidence that Morris suffered from radiation proctitis, which could be treated with iron tablets and blood transfusions, it added.
Treatment of refractory radiation-induced hemorrhagic proctitis with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Etiology of clinical proctitis among men who have sex with men.
The effect of a flavonoid fractions diosmin + hesperidin on radiation-induced acute proctitis in a rat model.
It presents as proctitis, which could be anything from a mild anorectal discharge, pain, bloody stools, to a feeling of incomplete evacuation.
difficile amplification between patients with proctitis, left sided colitis and pancolitis, or between active and quiescent colitis.
He was diagnosed clinically with herpes proctitis and treated with aciclovir tablets.
Depending on the extension of the disease process, a patient may have proctitis, left-sided colitis (extension into the descending colon), extensive colitis (involvement of the transverse colon), and/or pancolitis.
But what's really upsetting me is that he's been to the doctor who says he's got proctitis.
PB, a middle-aged man, has suffered from Crohn's proctitis, an autoimmune disorder, for most of his life.