Proctitis is inflammation of the lining of the rectum, and may extend up to six inches in the colon.  Proctitis is usually caused by inflammatory bowel disease such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease and may be self-limited or chronic. 


The most common symptom is a frequent or continuous sensation or urge to have a bowel movement. Other symptoms include constipation, a feeling of rectal fullness, left-sided abdominal pain, the passage of mucus through the rectum, rectal bleeding, and/or anorectal pain.


Physicians diagnose proctitis by looking inside the rectum with sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. A biopsy (a tiny piece of tissue from the rectum) may be removed and tested for diseases or infections. A stool sample may also reveal possible bacterial infections.


Treatment depends on the cause of proctitis.  If the inflammation is caused by Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, the physician may recommend the drug 5-aminosalicyclic acid (5ASA) or corticosteroids applied directly to the area in enema or suppository form, or taken orally in pill form. Enema and suppository applications are usually more effective, but some patients may require a combination of oral and rectal applications.  Bacteria or infectious proctitis is usually treated with antibiotics.


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