Proctitis is an inflammation of the anus and the lining of the rectum, affecting only the last 6 inches of the rectum. Proctitis may be acute or chronic. Anal sex, inflammatory bowel disease, or radiation therapy to your pelvic area or abdomen may cause proctitis. If not treated, proctitis may have complications.
Proctitis can cause rectal pain, diarrhea, bleeding and discharge, as well as the continuous feeling that you need to have a bowel movement. Proctitis symptoms can be short-lived, or they can become chronic.
Proctitis is common in people who have inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis).
A common symptom is a continual urge to have a bowel movement—the rectum could feel full or have constipation. Another is tenderness and mild irritation in the rectum and anal region. A serious symptom is pus and blood in the discharge, accompanied by cramps and pain during the bowel movement. If there is severe bleeding, anemia can result, showing symptoms such as pale skin, irritability, weakness, dizziness, brittle nails, and shortness of breath.
Symptoms are ineffectual straining to empty the bowels, diarrhea, rectal bleeding and possible discharge, a feeling of not having adequately emptied the bowels, involuntary spasms and cramping during bowel movements, left-sided abdominal pain, passage of mucus through the rectum, and anorectal pain.
Proctitis has many possible causes. It may occur idiopathically (idiopathic proctitis, that is, arising spontaneously or from an unknown cause). Other causes include damage by irradiation (for example in radiation therapy for cervical cancer and prostate cancer) or as a sexually transmitted infection, as in lymphogranuloma venereum and herpes proctitis. Studies suggest a celiac disease-associated “proctitis” can result from an intolerance to gluten.
A common cause is engaging in anal sex with partner(s) infected with sexual transmitted diseases in men who have sex with men. Shared enema usage has been shown to facilitate the spread of Lymphogranuloma venereum proctitis.
Sexually transmitted infections are another frequent cause. Proctitis also can be a side effect of radiation therapy for certain cancers.
Doctors can diagnose proctitis by looking inside the rectum with a proctoscope or a sigmoidoscope. A biopsy is taken, in which the doctor scrapes a tiny piece of tissue from the rectum, and this tissue is then examined by microscopy. The physician may also take a stool sample to test for infections or bacteria. If the physician suspects that the patient has Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, colonoscopy or barium enema X-rays are used to examine areas of the intestine.
Risk factors for proctitis are:
* Unsafe sex. Practices that increase your risk of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) can increase your risk of proctitis. Your risk of contracting an STI increases if you have multiple sex partners, don’t use condoms and have sex with a partner who has an STI.
* Inflammatory bowel diseases. Having an inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis ) increases your risk of proctitis.
* Radiation therapy for cancer. Radiation therapy directed at or near your rectum (such as for rectal, ovarian or prostate cancer) increases your risk of proctitis.
Proctitis that isn’t treated or that doesn’t respond to treatment may lead to complications, including:
* Anemia. Chronic bleeding from your rectum can cause anemia. With anemia, you don’t have enough red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your tissues. Anemia causes you to feel tired, and you may also experience dizziness, shortness of breath, headache, pale skin and irritability.
* Ulcers. Chronic inflammation in the rectum can lead to open sores (ulcers) on the inside lining of the rectum.
* Fistulas. Sometimes ulcers extend completely through the intestinal wall, creating a fistula, an abnormal connection that can occur between different parts of your intestine, between your intestine and skin, or between your intestine and other organs, such as the bladder and vagina.
Treatment of proctitis depends on its cause and the severity of your symptoms and often includes medicines. Some causes of proctitis, such as infection or rectal injury, can be prevented. Doctors treat complications of proctitis with medical procedures.
For example, the physician may prescribe antibiotics for proctitis caused by bacterial infection. If the proctitis is caused by Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, the physician may prescribe the drug 5-aminosalicyclic acid (5ASA) or corticosteroids applied directly to the area in enema or suppository form, or taken orally in pill form. Enema and suppository applications are usually more effective, but some patients may require a combination of oral and rectal applications.
Another treatment available is that of fiber supplements such as Metamucil or psyllium husk. Taken daily these may restore regularity and reduce pain associated with proctitis.
To reduce your risk of proctitis, take steps to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The surest way to prevent an STI is to abstain from sex, especially anal sex. If you choose to have sex, reduce your risk of an STI by:
* Limiting your number of sex partners
* Using a latex condom during each sexual contact
*Not having sex with anyone who has any unusual sores or discharge in the genital area
If you’re diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, stop having sex until after you’ve completed treatment. Ask your doctor when it’s safe to have sex again.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.