Proctitis is a condition in which when the lining tissue of the inner rectum becomes inflamed. The rectum is part of your lower digestive system.

Proctitis can be painful and uncomfortable. You may feel a constant urge to defecate. The condition is usually treated with medications and lifestyle adjustments. Surgery is not generally necessary, except in the most severe, recurring cases.

The most common symptom of proctitis is called tenesmus. Tenesmus is a frequent urge to have a bowel movement. Inflammation and irritation of the rectum and rectal lining cause tenesmus.

Other symptoms of proctitis include:

  • pain in your rectum, anus, and abdominal region
  • bleeding from the rectum
  • passing of mucus from the rectum
  • very loose stools
  • watery diarrhea


The goals of proctitis treatment are to reduce inflammation, control pain, and treat infection. Specific treatments depend on the cause of proctitis. Managing underlying conditions helps to relieve symptoms. Medications may be used to treat STIs or clear up symptoms. Surgery may be needed if you have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.



Several types of medication are used to treat proctitis:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids, reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.
  • Antibiotics and antifungals clear up STIs and other infections.
  • Immunosuppressants treat symptoms of Crohn’s disease and other autoimmune diseases.

Your doctor will prescribe medication based on the symptoms of your proctitis and its underlying cause. Medications may be taken orally, applied topically, or delivered by an enema. With an enema, treatment is placed directly into the rectum.


You may eventually need surgery if you have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease and frequent cases of proctitis. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are two autoimmune diseases that affect your digestive tract.

Inflammation and sores in the digestive tract can cause severe pain, malnutrition, and weight loss. In some cases, removing the damaged area is the only effective treatment.

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