Proctitis is an inflammation of the lining of the rectum, which is the lower portion of the colon (large intestine). Rectal pain and discomfort are common symptoms of proctitis, which often affects people who have irritable bowel disease. Infections, certain sexually transmitted diseases, rectal-area trauma, certain antibiotics, and anal-area radiation therapy can result in proctitis.

Symptoms of Proctitis

Many people with proctitis experience the continuous sensation of having to move their bowels. Additional symptoms include the following:
  • Anal or rectal painr
  • Bloody bowel movements
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Mucous in the stool
Symptoms of proctitis can be either short-lived or chronic.

Diagnosis of Proctitis

To diagnose proctitis, a medical history is taken, and a physical examination is performed. Blood tests and stool tests are administered to test for blood loss and infection. Additional diagnostic tests to detect abnormalities include the following:
  • Colonoscopy
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Proctoscopy
  • Biopsy
Testing for sexually transmitted infections may also take place.

Treatment of Proctitis

Treatment for proctitis depends on its specific cause, although the main goals of treatment are to reduce symptoms and relieve inflammation. Treatments include antibiotics to eliminate infection, and steroids or immunosuppressive medications to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. Chronic proctitis may require surgery to repair damage to the rectum or anal canal.

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