Proctitis affects mainly adolescents and adults. It is most common in men around age 30. Proctitis is caused by several different sexually transmitted diseases. Male homosexuals and people who practice anal intercourse are more likely to suffer from proctitis. Patients who have AIDS or who are immunocompromised are also more at risk.
Discharge of blood and mucus and intense pain in the area of the rectum and anus are all signs of proctitis. Patients feel the urge to have frequent bowel movements even when there is nothing present to eliminate. They may also have constipation, diarrhea, fever, and open sores around the anus. Other symptoms include cramping, lower back pain, difficulty urinating, and impotence.
Proctitis is diagnosed by a patient history and physical examination. It is confirmed by a proctoscopy (examination of the rectum with an endoscope inserted through the anus). Proctoscopy usually shows a red, sore, inflamed lining of the rectum. Biopsies, smears, and lab cultures of rectal material are used to determine the exact cause of the inflammation so that the underlying cause can be treated appropriately.
Since the two problems often occur together, in the presence of proctitis, the large bowel should be examined for ulcerative colitis.
Tish Davidson, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,