Treatment for Proctitis
How do doctors treat proctitis?
Treatment of proctitis depends on its cause and the severity of your symptoms.
Proctitis caused by infection
If lab tests confirm that your proctitis is due to an infection, your doctor will prescribe medicine based on the type of infection. A doctor may prescribe
- antibiotics to treat bacterial infections such as sexually transmitted diseases and foodborne illnesses
- antiviral medicines to treat viral infections such as genital herpes
Proctitis caused by inflammatory bowel disease
When inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis causes proctitis, the goals of treatment are to decrease the inflammation in your intestines, prevent flare-ups of your symptoms, and keep you in remission. Your doctor may prescribe one of the following medicines:
Aminosalicylates. These medicines contain 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA), which helps control inflammation. Aminosalicylates include
Corticosteroids. Corticosteroids, also known as steroids, help reduce the activity of your immune system. Corticosteroids include
Immunomodulators. These medicines reduce immune system activity, resulting in less inflammation in your digestive tract. Immunomodulators include
Proctitis caused by radiation therapy
Doctors treat symptoms caused by radiation therapy in your pelvic area based on the severity of your symptoms. If you have mild symptoms, such as occasional bleeding or tenesmus, your proctitis may heal without treatment. Your doctor may prescribe medicines such as sucralfate (Carafate) or corticosteroid enemas to ease your pain and reduce symptoms.
Proctitis caused by injury to your anus or rectum
When injury to your anus or rectum is the cause of your proctitis, you should stop the activity causing the injury. Healing most often occurs in 4 to 6 weeks. Your doctor may recommend antidiarrheal medicines and pain relievers.
Proctitis caused by certain antibiotics
When the use of certain antibiotics results in Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) infection and causes your proctitis, your doctor will stop the antibiotic that triggered the C. difficile infection. He or she will prescribe a different antibiotic such as metronidazole (Flagyl), vancomycin (Vancocin), or fidaxomicin (Dificid).
How can I prevent proctitis?
Doctors don’t know how to prevent all types of proctitis. To prevent STD-related proctitis you should
- use a condom during anal sex
- don’t have sex with anyone who has any symptoms of an STD, such as pain or burning sensation during urination or discharge from the penis
- reduce your number of sex partners
If injury to your anus or rectum caused your proctitis, stopping the activity that caused the injury often will stop the inflammation and keep proctitis from coming back.
How do doctors treat the complications of proctitis?
- thermal therapy, which uses a heat probe, an electric current, or a laser
- cryoablation, which uses extremely cold temperatures
A surgeon may perform surgery to treat other complications of proctitis, such as abscesses, fistulas, rectal stricture, and ulcers in your intestine. Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove your rectum when other medical treatments fail, the side effects of medicines threaten your health, or your complications are severe.
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.