Treatment for Proctitis
How do doctors treat proctitis?
Your doctor will recommend treatments based on the type of proctitis you have and its cause.
Proctitis in IBD
Doctors prescribe medicines to treat proctitis due to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)—ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. Medicines may reduce inflammation in the rectum and help bring on and maintain IBD remission—a time when your symptoms disappear.
Medicines to treat proctitis in IBD include
- corticosteroids, also called steroids
Doctors may recommend surgery to treat proctitis in IBD if medicines don’t work or if you develop complications.
Doctors typically prescribe medicines, such as antibiotics to treat bacterial infections or antiviral medicines to treat viral infections.
Radiation proctitis or radiation proctopathy
Doctors treat radiation proctopathy based on how severe your symptoms are. If you have mild symptoms, your doctor may recommend medicines to help reduce symptoms and heal the lining of your rectum.
If radiation proctopathy causes rectal bleeding that is severe or doesn’t stop, doctors may use techniques during a lower endoscopy procedure to stop the bleeding.
Doctors may recommend surgery to treat radiation proctopathy if other treatments don’t work or if you develop complications.
If you develop diversion proctitis after ostomy surgery of the bowel, doctors may recommend surgery to close the ostomy and reconnect your rectum to the rest of your intestines. After surgery, waste will move through the intestines and pass through the rectum and anus again. Diversion proctitis typically goes away after surgery.
If you cannot have surgery to reconnect your rectum to the rest of your intestines, your doctor may recommend medicines to treat diversion proctitis, including medicines you insert into your rectum such as suppositories and enemas.
Proctitis due to other causes
Doctors may recommend treating the causes of other types of proctitis.
- If an injury to the anus or rectum causes proctitis, doctors may recommend avoiding the activity causing the injury.
- If taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) causes proctitis, doctors may recommend stopping or changing your medicines.
- If lack of blood flow to the rectum causes proctitis, doctors may recommend treatments to increase blood flow.
Doctors may also recommend medicines to help reduce proctitis symptoms.
How do doctors treat the complications of proctitis?
Doctors may recommend surgery to treat complications of proctitis, such as abscesses, fistulas, or strictures. Doctors may also recommend surgery to treat proctitis if other treatments don’t work.
Can proctitis be prevented?
You can lower your risk for infectious proctitis by taking steps to prevent sexually transmitted infections and food poisoning. Doctors who treat cancer with radiation therapy have developed methods to lower the risk of radiation proctopathy.
However, experts haven’t found ways to prevent other types of proctitis.
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.