Proctitis involves the inflammation of the rectal lining—a muscular tube that links to the colon’s end, guiding stool out of the body.

This condition can lead to symptoms such as pain in the rectal area, diarrhea, bleeding, discharge, and a persistent urge to defecate. The manifestations of proctitis might be temporary or evolve into a long-standing issue.

It’s frequently observed in individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are also a common cause. Moreover, proctitis can arise as an adverse effect of undergoing radiation treatment for certain type of cancer.


The following sign and symptoms of proctitis may include:

  • Constant or frequent feeling that you need go toilet.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fullness or swelling in your rectum.
  • Pain on the left side of your abdomen.
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool.
  • Rectal pain or pain during bowel movement.

In case you experience any proctitis signs or symptoms, schedule a visit with your healthcare provider.


The rectal lining may become inflamed due to several diseases and conditions. Among them include the following:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease: This is the most common cause of proctitis overall. The rectal inflammation affects about 30% of patients with inflammatory bowel disease, which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
  • Infections: Proctitis can be caused by sexually transmitted infections, which are primarily transferred through anal intercourse. Sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and genital herpes can result in proctitis. Proctitis can also result from foodborne illness-related illnesses such salmonella, shigella, and campylobacter infections.
  • Radiation therapy: Inflammation of the rectum or surrounding tissues, like the prostate, may result with radiation therapy. A few months following radiation therapy, radiation proctitis may start throughout the course of treatment. It may also happen years after treatment.

Radiation mucositis can occur anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract as a result of cancer radiation therapy. This indicates an inflammation of the mucosa lining your gastrointestinal tract. When you receive targeted radiation to your upper or lower abdomen, you may develop radiation enteritis or radiation colitis. If you have received targeted radiation to the pelvic region, you may develop radiation proctitis.

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics used to treat infections can occasionally destroy good bacteria in the intestines, allowing the dangerous Clostridium difficile bacteria to proliferate in the rectum.
  • Food protein-induced proctitis: Infants who consume formula made of soy or cow’s milk may experience proctitis. Proctitis can also develop in breastfed infants whose moms consume dairy products.
  • Diversion proctitis: Those who have had an ileostomy or colostomy in which a surgically made opening (stoma) that diverts the stool away from their rectum may have this negative effect.
  • Eosinophilic proctitis: This disorder develops when the body produces an excessive amount of eosinophilia, which accumulates in the rectum’s lining. When you have eosinophilic gastrointestinal problems, your immune system infiltrates a specific area of your gastrointestinal tract with an excessively high concentration of eosinophils, which results in persistent inflammation. Eosinophilic proctitis exclusively affects children under the age of two.
  • Idiopathic proctitis: There are a small number of cases where proctitis has no known cause. Changes in nutrition, however, frequently resolve these situations. Idiopathic proctitis often recurs, behaving nearly like a chronic illness. Ulcerative colitis develops in about 10% of cases over time.
  • Trauma: Inflammation in the anus and rectum may result from an object or chemical being introduced into it. It could be caused by chemicals present in some enemas.

Risk factors

The following factors may increase the risk of proctitis:

  • Unprotected sex: Proctitis risk can be elevated by behaviors that raise the risk of a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Having several sexual partners, not using condoms, and having sex with someone who has a STI increase your chance of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases: Proctitis is more common in those with inflammatory bowel diseases (such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis).
  • Radiation therapy: Proctitis is more likely to occur if you have radiation therapy near or at your rectum (for example, for rectal, ovarian, or prostate cancer).