Proctitis

1 What is Proctitis?

An inflammation of the lining of the rectum which is the muscular tube that is connected to the end of your colon is called proctitis.

Our stool passes through our rectum.

This condition can cause continuous sensation that you need to have a bowel movement and rectal pain.

This can be short-lived or chronic.

Some of the causes are sexually transmitted infections and people who have inflammatory bowel diseases or a side effect of radiation therapy.

2 Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of proctitis are:

  • rectal bleeding,
  • rectal pain,
  • the passing of mucus through your rectum,
  • a frequent or continuous feeling that you need to have a bowel movement,
  • diarrhea,
  • pain on the left side of your abdomen,
  • pain with bowel movements,
  • a feeling of fullness in your rectum.
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3 Causes

The conditions that can cause proctitis include:

  • inflammatory bowel disease – if you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis,
  • infections – sexually transmitted infections such as genital herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, salmonella, and HIV,
  • radiation therapy for cancer – if you had radiation therapy in your rectum or near the rectum, it can occur after a few months or after years of having that treatment.
  • antibiotics – sometime antibiotics can kill helpful bacteria in the bowels,
  • diversion proctitis – if you had a colon surgery wherein the passage of stool is diverted from the rectum,
  • food protein induced proctitis – babies who are breastfeed by their mothers who eat dairy products or who drinks cow’s milk or soy based formula,
  • eosinophilic proctitis – a kind of white blood cell in the lining of the rectum.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Making a diagnosis of proctitis is done by performing several tests.

Consult your doctor and he may refer you to a gastroenterologist who specializes in the disease of digestive system.

Write down all of your symptoms and the medications and supplements that you are taking. Bring a family member or a close friend with you in the clinic to support you.

Some of the questions that you can ask your doctor include

  • What are the possible causes?
  • What tests do I need?
  • What are the treatments available?
  • What are the benefits and risk of each treatment?
  • Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?

Some of the possible tests to diagnose proctitis include

  • blood tests – to check for infection or blood loss;
  • stool test – to check if the proctitis is because of a bacterial infection;
  • sigmoidoscopy – to examine the last part of your colon which is called sigmoid, your doctor will also have biopsy;
  • colonoscopy – your doctor will check your entire colon and will also get a biopsy;
  • testing for sexually transmitted infections – your doctor will get a discharge from your rectum or form your urethra.

5 Treatment

The underlying cause of the inflammation will be the basis of the treatment for proctitis.

If it caused by bacterial infection your doctor may use antibiotics such as doxycycline and antivirals such as acyclovir if it is caused by viral infections.

If your proctitis is caused by radiation therapy your doctor may suggest:

  • medication – to reduce the bleeding and control the inflammation such as sucralfate (Carafate), mesalamine (Asacol, Canasa, others) and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), and metronidazole (Flagyl);
  • stool softeners and dilation – to open up obstructions in the bowel;
  • treatment to destroy damaged tissues – by ablation.

If the proctitis is caused by inflammatory bowel disease your doctor may suggest: these are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease to reduce inflammation such as:

  • anti-inflammtory medications like mesalamine or corticosteroid like prednisone or budesonide, if you have Crohn’s disease your doctor will give you azathioprine or infliximab to suppress the immune system;
  • and surgery by removing the damaged portion of your digestive tract.

6 Prevention

To prevent proctitis, take steps to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  Reduce your risk of an STI by:

  • avoid having a lot of sexual partners;
  • use a latex condom every time you have sexual contact;
  • if you are not having sexual contact to a person who does not have unusual sores or discharge in the genital area.

You should have a treatment if you are diagnosed with STI to avoid infecting others.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Some of the homeopathic remedies for proctitis include:

  • Aesculus,
  • Aloe Soc,
  • Alumina,
  • Ambra Gresia,
  • Antim Crude,
  • Colchicum,
  • Hepar Sulph,
  • Mercurius,
  • Nitric Acid,
  • Opium,
  • Phosphorous,
  • Sulphur,
  • Collinsonia,
  • Ferrum Phos,
  • Hydrastis,
  • Ipecauc,
  • Kali Bi,
  • kali Iod,
  • Merc Cor,
  • and Podophyllum.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with proctitis.

You can try some of the following self-care measures to reduce the pain and inflammation:

  • avoid eating before going to bed because this can cause you to have bowel movements;
  • take over the counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or aspirin;
  • you can take over the counter diarrhea medicines but you have to consult your doctor first;
  • have a warm bath or a sitz bath for anal inflammation.

9 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with proctitis.

The risk factors for proctitis include:

Some complications of proctitis include:

  • anemia – this is for chronic bleeding from your rectum which will make you feel dizzy, having shortness of breath, pale skin, irritation and headache;
  • ulcers – if there is chronic inflammation leading to open sores or ulcers;
  • fistulas – this is an abnormal connection that can occurs at different parts of your body.
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