Proctitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation within the lining of the rectum, the final section of your colon that connects to the anus. The rectum is what stool passes through as it departs your body. If you are struggling with proctitis, you may have the constant urge to have a bowel movement, followed by pain and discomfort. Proctitis can generally be addressed with conservative treatment methods, such as mediations and lifestyle modifications. Depending on the severity of your condition, surgery may also be required. Our colorectal specialists at Colon & Rectal Surgical Specialists of New York can conduct a thorough examination at our Garden City, NY, office to determine the best treatment method for your needs.
What Causes Proctitis?
Proctitis is often the result of an underlying medical condition, such as:
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Foodborne infections, such as salmonella or shigella
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Radiation therapy for anal, ovarian, rectal, or prostate cancer
- Harmful chemical agents inserted into the rectum
- Foreign objects placed inside the rectum
- Trauma to your anorectal area
You may be at risk for developing proctitis if you participate in unsafe sex, have been diagnosed with a type of inflammatory disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, or are currently undergoing radiation therapy near your rectum to treat cancer. Prolonged use of antibiotics can also increase your risk for proctitis.
The first step to addressing proctitis is diagnosing the cause in order to reduce inflammation and adequately treat the infection.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common side effect of proctitis is the frequent urge to defecate, followed by rectal inflammation and irritation. Other symptoms can include:
- Pain or cramping in your rectum, anus, or abdomen during a bowel movement
- Tenderness near the anal or rectal area
- Rectal bleeding during a bowel movement
- Mucus or discharge during a bowel movement
- Loose stools
If you experience any signs of proctitis, it is important to schedule an appointment with a colorectal specialist to discover the source of your condition.
How to Treat Proctitis
The first step to addressing proctitis is diagnosing the cause in order to reduce inflammation and adequately treat the infection. In cases where STDs and food intolerances are the root of your infection, certain lifestyle adjustments, such as changing your diet, tracking your symptoms, wearing a condom, and taking medications can eliminate symptoms. However, if you have proctitis as a result of an inflammatory bowel disease, surgery may be required to help repair your intestines.
At Colon & Rectal Surgical Specialists of New York, one of our colorectal specialists can perform a colonoscopy and series of tests to establish a diagnosis and create a treatment plan designed to meet you unique needs. For mild to moderate cases, your doctor can help manage symptoms and pain with diet modifications and certain medications, such as:
- Corticosteroids or another anti-inflammatory drug to reduce inflammation
- Antibiotic or antifungal to clear up the infection
- Immunosuppressant to treat autoimmune inflammatory bowel diseases
Unaddressed proctitis can lead to increased inflammation and sores throughout your entire digestive tract. Overtime, this can result in malnutrition, chronic pain, intestinal scarring, and weight loss. In cases where the digestive tract has been irreversibly damaged, surgery may be necessary to remove and repair the damaged tissue.
Contact Our Office
If you are currently experiencing abdominal cramping and tenderness around the rectal area, you may have proctitis. Visiting a colorectal specialist in a timely manner can increase your chances for a full recovery. To schedule your consultation with one of our doctors, contact our office online or call (516) 248-2422.