Definition & Facts for Proctitis

What is proctitis?

Proctitis is inflammation of the lining of your rectum. Depending on the cause, proctitis may happen suddenly and last a short time or may be long lasting.

Who is more likely to develop proctitis?

You are more likely to develop proctitis if you have

Men are more likely than women to get acute proctitis. Adults are more likely than children to get acute proctitis.1

What are the complications of proctitis?

If your proctitis isn’t treated or doesn’t respond to treatment, you may have complications, including

  • abscesses—painful, swollen, pus-filled areas caused by infection
  • chronic or severe bleeding that can lead to anemia
  • fistulas—an abnormal passage, or tunnel, between two organs or between an organ and the outside of the body
  • rectal stricture—an abnormal narrowing of your rectum
  • ulcers—sores in the lining of your intestines


Last Reviewed August 2016

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.