Proctitis involves inflammation of the tissue lining the inner rectum. It is important to note that the rectum is a section of the lower digestive system. It links the last segment of the colon to the anus.
The condition can cause pain and discomfort. The individual feels a constant urge to defecate. In most cases, the condition is managed with drugs and lifestyle modifications. Surgery is not necessary, except in serious and recurrent cases.
What are the causes?
Proctitis is typically brought about by various underlying conditions such as:
- Inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Anal trauma
- Radiation treatment for anal, ovarian, rectal or prostate cancer
- Rectal infections that arise after antibiotic therapy
What are the indications?
A usual sign of proctitis is tenesmus or frequent urge to defecate. The irritation and inflammation of the rectum and its lining can cause tenesmus.
Other signs that might be present include:
- Rectal bleeding
- Pain in the anus, rectum and abdominal region
- Watery diarrhea
- Loose stools
- Passage of mucus or discharge from the rectum
Management of proctitis
The objective in the treatment for proctitis is to lessen the inflammation, control the pain and infection. The specific treatment is based on the root cause. Proper management of the underlying conditions can also lessen the symptoms.
Various drugs are used in treating proctitis such as:
- Antibiotics and antifungals for STIs and other types of infections
- Anti-inflammatory drugs to lessen the inflammation and for pain relief
- Immunosuppressants and biologics for Crohn’s disease and other autoimmune diseases
The doctor will prescribe a drug based on the symptoms and underlying cause. The drugs might be taken orally or intravenously, topical or via an enema.
Surgery might be necessary if the individual is diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Inflammation and the presence of sores in the digestive tract can result to serious pain, intestinal scarring, malnutrition, bleeding and weight loss. In some instances, removal of the impaired region is the only effective approach.