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Diseases reference index «Proctitis»

Proctitis is an inflammation of the rectum that causes discomfort, bleeding, and occasionally, a discharge of mucus or pus.


There are many causes of proctitis, but they can be grouped in the following categories:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Harmful substances
  • Non-sexually transmitted infection
  • Sexually transmitted disease (STD)

Proctitis caused by STD is common among those who engage in anal intercourse. STDs that can cause proctitis include gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, lymphogranuloma venereum, and amebiasis.

Non-sexually transmitted infections causing proctitis are seen less often than STD proctitis. The classical example of non-sexually transmitted infection occurs in children and is caused by the same bacteria that cause strep throat.

Autoimmune proctitis is associated with diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.

Proctitis may also be caused by certain medications, radiotherapy, and inserting harmful substances into the rectum.

Risk factors include:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • High-risk sexual practices such as anal sex


  • Bloody stools
  • Constipation
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Rectal discharge, pus
  • Rectal pain or discomfort
  • Tenesmus (pain with bowel movement)

Exams and Tests

  • Examination of stool sample
  • Proctoscopy
  • Rectal culture
  • Sigmoidoscopy


Successful treatment of the underlying cause usually cures the problem. Proctitis caused by infection is treated with antibiotics. Corticosteroids or mesalamine suppositories may relieve symptoms of proctitis in those with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The probable outcome is good with treatment.

Possible Complications

  • Anal fistula
  • Anemia
  • Recto-vaginal fistula (women)
  • Severe bleeding

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of proctitis.


Safer sex behaviors may prevent the disease from being spread during sexual activity.

Alternative Names

Inflammation - rectum; Rectal inflammation

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