If the disease stems from a chronic illness, surgery may be required. A gastroenterologist, a specialist who deals with all the organs from the mouth to the anus, should advise you.
Follow-up is an integral part of treating proctitis. You must finish all the antibiotics given you. You should abstain from any sexual practice that may irritate the disease. Follow up with a visit to your health care provider after 1-2 weeks to determine whether the inflammation has cleared or if you should continue therapy. At any point, if the symptoms get worse, either contact your doctor or go to the emergency department, depending on the severity of your symptoms.
How Can I Prevent Proctitis?
Prevention begins with addressing the high-risk sexual behaviors that you may engage in. Sexually safe behaviors include using protection such as the condom, knowing your sexual partner and history, and avoiding anal intercourse. You must use safe sex practices, such as condoms, if you engage in high-risk sexual behaviors such as these:
- Having multiple sexual partners (or changing sexual partners)
- A previous history of any sexually transmitted disease
- Having a partner with a past history of any STD
- Having a partner with an unknown sexual history
- Using drugs or alcohol (these may increase the likelihood of unsafe sexual practices)
- Having a partner who is an IV drug user
- Bisexual or homosexual partners
- Anal intercourse (Anal sex with a condom decreases the risk of proctitis by STDs, but you can still get proctitis from anal trauma.)
- Having unprotected intercourse (sex without the use of a condom) with an unknown partner
What Is the Prognosis for Proctitis?
In most cases, anal/rectal problems go away with treatment.
- Because most cases of proctitis are caused by sexually transmitted infection, antibiotics are useful.
- Proctitis caused by other conditions, such as radiation therapy, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn disease, may last a long time. You may need long-term therapy. Your symptoms may return from time to time (in a relapse or flare-up).
- In certain instances, where medications are not effective, you may need surgery to remove the diseased part of your GI tract. There can be complications as a result of proctitis, especially if it goes untreated. Some complications include severe bleeding, anemia, and fistulas.
- Fistulas may occur in many parts of your body. Women typically may get recto-vaginal fistulas in which a tube grows to connect the rectum to the vagina. Hence women may have fecal matter coming out of their vagina. Both men and women may get anal fistulas, which connect the rectum to the skin. Feces may come out of an opening other than the anus. These fistulas can also become infected and cause complications themselves.
Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventive Medicine with subspecialty in Occupational Medicine
"Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of radiation proctitis"
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/18/2016
Eugene Hardin, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
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