Proctitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Proctitis

Proctitis is a medical condition which is the inflammation of the rectal mucosa. This condition is caused by many other underlying conditions which could be from infection such as STIs or radiation therapy and so on.

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But according to the cause, this condition can be quite painful or painless. Rectal mucosa is the inner lining of the rectum. The rectum is a part of the digestive system above the anus connecting the colon to the anus where stool passes through until it is excreted.

This health condition can be very painful and discomforting. It comes with a frequent impulse to pass out stool. This infection can be treated with medications and lifestyle adjustments, which involves changes in diet.

Going for surgery is not totally necessary unless the infection has become very severe or keeps on recurring.

Causes of proctitis

Proctitis is a health condition. That commonly develops from other underlying medical conditions.

And they include:

  1. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Sexually Transmitted Infections such as Chlamydia trachomatis infection, syphilis, herpes simplex virus infection or gonorrhea can cause proctitis
  2. Rectal infections: This could be from antibiotic use. Example: bacteria Clostridium difficile. By the use of antibiotics that kills the harmless bacteria that live in the intestinal. This, therefore, allows other bacteria that may be harmful to the linings of the intestinal tract to grow and inhabit instead.
  3. Anal trauma: which could be from rough anal sex. This can also be injuries developed from rough use of sex toys in the anus.
  4. Other infections: Other infections that are not sexually transmitted infections. This may be infections caused by bacteria such as salmonella and shigella.
  5. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can cause this condition.
  6. Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy is used for the treatment of anal, ovarian, rectal, prostate, or ovarian cancer, and this condition can develop from it.

Symptoms

  1. Tenesmus: This is the constant urge to defecate. This is due to the Inflammation on the inner lining of the rectum, causing the irritation that makes you want to defecate all the time.
  2. Pain: The constant feeling of pain in the abdominal, anus, and rectum part one of the symptoms of proctitis.
  3. Bleeding from your rectum: Due to the injuries sustained may cause the bleeding from the rectum
  4. Mucus discharge: Mucus are being passed out from your rectum. Remember, that proctitis is an Inflammation, so it is likely to gather mucus.
  5. Severe diarrhea: Watery stools are passed out frequently.

Diagnosis

There are tests and procedures carried out in order to narrow one’s symptoms to confirm the presence of proctitis in the system, and these tests include:

  1. Blood tests: With the use of blood tests, blood loss or infections can be detected, and its treatment follows immediately.
  2. Stool test: Samples of stool passed out baby the individual may be obtained for testing. This test helps in narrowing it down in order to determine whether the proctitis is caused by a bacterial infection or not.
  3. Flexible sigmiodoscopy: This is a kind of test whereby the last portion of the colon and the rectum is examined by the use of a slender, flexible, lighted tube in order to collect small samples of the tissues for further analysis in the laboratory.
    In scope examination, the entirety of the colon is being examined.
  4. Colonoscopy: This test allows the doctor to have view the entire colon with the use of a thin, flexible, lighted tube attached to a camera. The doctor may decide to take samples of the linings during this test.
  5. Tests for Sexually Transmitted Infections: Considering the fact that Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) can cause proctitis. The test for Sexually Transmitted Infections along the symptoms of proctitis may help in the narrowing down of suggestions to confirm proctitis.

These tests involve getting samples of rectal discharge or discharge from the urethra.

Treatment

This can only be proctitis can be only be treated when the treatment applied reduces the inflammation, relieves or control the pain, and totally treat the infection.

Specifically, the treatments depend on the condition proctitis develops. When the underlying diseases are appropriately managed, the symptoms are eased.

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For example, if the cause is Sexually Transmitted Infections, then medications should be used to treat the condition; by this, proctitis is controlled.

But in the case proctitis caused ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, then surgery may be needed, especially when it is severe or keep recurring.

The following are the three main ways to treat proctitis:

1. Medication

In this type of treatment, they are several kinds of medicine to be used, and the drugs are used according to the causes of proctitis and they are:

  • Antibiotics and antifungals: These medications are used to treat STI and other Infections to clear them up. This is if the STI and other Infections are the cause of the condition.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: These include; corticosteroids. This medication is to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
  • Immunosuppressants and biologics: Medications are used to treat and manage the symptoms that come with autoimmune diseases such as; Crohn’s disease.

However, people who have suppressed the immune system are at higher risk of developing the health condition, Proctitis. Infections such as herpes simplex virus or Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Medications are prescribed medication according to the symptoms of the proctitis and its medical cause.

These medications could be oral, intravenous, externally applied, and enema use, which is the kind of treatment directly placed straight into the rectum.

In some cases, sitz baths are recommended. A sitz bath pans are home use supplies that can fit over a toilet bowl, help deliver warm water directly to the inflamed area, and ease the pain.

2. Change your diet

The treatment of proctitis does not only end in medications and surgery. Changing one’s diet is a good way of improving one’s condition.

Changing one’s diet may help in the reduction of pain; for example, a soft, tasteless, and flavorless diet may be adopted to reduce the pain. Spicy, fatty, and acidic diets are to be avoided during diarrhea.

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Being lactose intolerant would mean that you should reduce or stop the intake of dairy products and take alternative forms of dairy products instead.

Plenty drinking of fluids are advised, but one should refrain from taking caffeinated be and carbonated soda drink, coffees, and teas.

Drinking lots of water and other healthy fluids help the easy passage of stool. This also aids in the prevention of dehydration, which could be a result of violent diarrhea.

However, caffeinated drinks can irritate the digestive tract and the inflamed area while Diarrhea is worsened when sugar-free candies, sugar alcohols, and drinks are taken.

3. Surgery

In a severe case of proctitis with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease as the cause and in the case of frequent recurrence, surgery is needed.

The Inflammation and injuries in the rectum can cause unimaginable pain, malnutrition, rectal scarring, bleeding, and severe weight loss. In such cases, surgery is needed to remove the inflamed or scarred area.

This is highly considered as the top and only effective treatment of proctitis.

Tracking your symptoms

Tracking when the symptoms happen can help you rule out and narrow the leading cause of your proctitis pain down.

For instance, if you find out that the symptoms you experience get worse after you take milk or any dairy products, you are advised to use alternative forms of milk that are lactose-free such as soy milk.

Safe sex

Practicing safe sex like Use of sex or PrEP during anal sex. This reduces the risk of getting Sexually Transmitted Infections, which in turn can affect your rectum and cause proctitis.

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Complications and outlook

There are several successful treated cases of proctitis with just a change in diet and with the use of medications. But unfortunately, there are cases of proctitis resulting in severe complications.

Although these cases are rare, there are possible. These complications include:

  • Anemia: This occurs when there is a reduction in the quality and quantity of red blood cells needed in the body; this is due to the rectal bleeding serving as one of the symptoms of proctitis.
  • Ulcers: Open sores may develop from proctitis in the colon and rectum. These sores may cause pain and discomfort to the patient.
  • Abscesses: The Inflammation may be pus-filled, and this may cause infection.
    These complications can be prevented when all symptoms are reported to the doctor as soon as possible. Like all health conditions, earlier intervention leads to better chances of full recovery.

We hope this article has been useful to you. Kindly leave a comment below and share.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.