Proctitis refers to inflammation of the lining of the rectum. This can cause rectal pain, diarrhea, bleeding, abnormal discharge, fever, or sensation that you need to defecate frequently although you do not have much stool to pass.

Common causes of proctitis
  • Sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by gonorrhea, chlamydia or herpes

  • Infectious food-borne viral or bacterial infection

  • Radiation-induced proctitis (acute or chronic)

  • Proctitis due to inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease)

Diagnosis and treatment of proctitis

A history and physical exam in office using a proctoscope ( a lighted long thin tube) can often make the initial diagnosis. Sometimes additional lab tests may be used to confirm the diagnosis. Colonoscopy is sometimes used to evaluate the severity and obtain biopsy. Infectious proctitis (food-borne or STD) is typically treated with antibiotics or anti-viral medications. When inflammatory bowel disease is the cause, treatment is directed at such disease. Treatment of radiation proctitis depends on the symptoms. Mild bleeding can be treated endoscopically. Rectal enema may be prescribed. In severe recurrent bleeding, topical Formalin application may be used.

Helpful links:


*National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and

Kidney Diseases