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Proctitis (cont.)

When Should I Call the Doctor About Proctitis?

If you have any of the symptoms—especially if you have a history of high-risk sexual behavior that may lead to proctitis—you should contact your health care provider to be checked. Other minor conditions such as hemorrhoids also can cause similar symptoms. Your doctor can tell the difference and provide the right treatment.

If you have bleeding and mucus in a bowel movement, severe pain, and diarrhea, seek treatment at a hospital’s emergency department. Complications such as severe bleeding and anemia need immediate medical attention. As a result of diarrhea, you also may be dehydrated. Symptoms indicating severe disease include weakness, dizziness, irritability, shortness of breath, and headaches.

How Is Proctitis Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of proctitis is based on the suspected cause.

  • Your health care provider will take a thorough medical history to determine your sexual practices and if you have any high-risk behaviors.
  • Most cases of suspected proctitis require a procedure called a proctosigmoidoscopy. A lighted tube with a camera is passed through the anus and used to look at the surface of your rectum. The image is projected on a TV screen and is magnified to identify changes.
  • In addition, your doctor also may take a biopsy (small piece of tissue) of your rectum for testing for disease or infection.
  • Any discharge present will undergo lab testing to identify sexually transmitted organisms.
  • Doctors also frequently test your blood for the presence of antibodies to support the diagnosis.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/18/2016
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Proctitis is inflammation of the lining of the rectum, called the rectal mucosa.

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