What is proctitis?

Proctitis is an inflammatory condition of the inner lining (mucosa) of the rectum.

What is the cause of proctitis?

The actual cause is unknown. Most cases of proctitis are part of a spectrum of inflammatory bowel diseases which include ulcerative colitis and crohn's disease.  Other causes include infections and infrequently following radiation of pelvic organs.

What are the symptoms of proctitis?

Depending on the cause, the symptoms may last several days, months or years, continuously or intermittently. The main symptoms are:

  • Urgency to pass stool

  • Passage of blood and mucus

  • Loose stools

  • Fever

  • Anal irritation/itch

  • Pain (uncommon)

How is proctitis diagnosed?

The diagnosis is based on several features and investigations:

  • Clinical features

  • Faecal cultures to determine any infectious cause

  •  Appearance of the bowel lining

    • A Colonoscopy is performed to assess the lining of the large bowel and biopsies are taken to aid with diagnosis.

How is proctitis treated?

Procitis is usually treated with medication, surgery is infrequent.  Infectious causes are treated with antibiotics.  Inflammatory bowel disease is frequently treated with suppositories or rectal foam containing cortisone. If this fails a more systemic treatment is commenced including agents like salazopyrine, and occasionally oral prednisolone or immune regulators.