Proctitis affects the rectum and sometimes the anus, causing the lining to become inflamed. People may use the terms “anus” and “rectum” interchangeably, but they really are two different places of the body. The rectum is the portion of large intestine that ends in the anus. Proctitis can be a very painful condition that is treatable if caught early enough.
Not getting proctitis treated can lead to serious health complications like anemia, ulcers in the intestines and growth of excruciating abscesses and fistulas. Although proctitis is usually a complication from a sexually transmitted disease, it can also be caused by a bad reaction to antibiotics, from radiation exposure and from injury to the anorectal region. Proctitis is also a common complication for patients with ulcerative colitis, salmonella, shingles, Crohn’s disease, or strep throat.
The most common symptom is a constant strong urge to defecate whether or not the body actually has any feces to pass. Even if this is the only symptom, call a doctor as soon as possible.
Other common symptoms for proctitis can be dramatic. They include pus or mucus from the anus; passing blood with or without stool; constipation or diarrhea; abdominal cramps; passing bowel movement which cause pain in the anus, rectum or abdomen; feeling as if there is something in the rectum that will not come out and swelling of the lymph glands in the groin.
Treatment depends entirely on the cause of proctitis. For example, proctitis caused by STDs like syphilis and gonorrhea are treated with antibiotics. Proctitis caused by genital herpes needs antiviral medications since herpes is caused by a virus and not bacteria.
Proctitis goes away after radiation treatments. Before treatments are over, patients may be given medication like sucralfate or enemas containing corticosteroids, which help reduce inflammation.
Proctitis caused by injuries to the anus or rectum will not go away until the area has healed. Until then, painkillers and medications to stop diarrhea may help.
Proctitis caused by illnesses need the primary illness treated before the proctitis can be relieved. Until that time, medications given to help relieve symptoms include corticosteroids, immunomodulators and Aminosalicylates.