Diagnosis of Proctitis

How do doctors diagnose proctitis?

Your doctor diagnoses proctitis based on your medical history, a physical exam, lab tests, and medical procedures.

Medical history

Your doctor will review your symptoms and ask you about your medical history, including

  • current and past medical conditions
  • history of radiation therapy
  • current use of antibiotics

Your doctor will also ask you about your sexual activities, including those that increase your risk of proctitis caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

A female doctor holding clip board with forms reviewing male patient’s symptoms medical history.
Your doctor will review your symptoms and ask you about your medical history. Your doctor will also ask about your sexual activities.

Physical exam

Your doctor will perform a physical exam, which will include a digital rectal exam. During a digital rectal exam, your doctor will check for pain, bleeding, and problems such as internal hemorrhoids, polyps, and ulcers.

What tests and procedures do doctors use to diagnose proctitis?

Lab tests

Your doctor may perform one or more of the following lab tests to diagnose proctitis.

  • blood test. A health care professional may take a blood sample of your blood and send the sample to a lab to test. A blood test can show signs of certain conditions and diseases that can cause proctitis, such as STDs and other infections.
  • rectal culture. A rectal culture can show signs of infections that cause proctitis.
  • stool test. A stool test can show signs of bleeding from the rectum and signs of infections that cause proctitis.

Medical procedures

Your doctor may perform one or more of the following medical procedures to diagnose proctitis. Your doctor can also diagnose some causes of proctitis, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and some complications of proctitis with these procedures.

August 2016
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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 through its clearinghouses and education programs 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.