Proctitis is a non-specific term for inflammation of the rectum. It may have a variety of causes, many of which are detailed below. Symptoms may range from minimal to severe including pelvic pain, urgency, bleeding and mucous discharge.
Radiation therapy to the pelvis can lead to chronic irritation and inflammation in the rectum. Most commonly, this follows radiation therapy for prostate cancer or gynecological malignancies. Although the symptoms are often mild, they can be more severe requiring treatment. The physicians of Colon and Rectal Associates are able to offer patients a number of treatment modalities.
The inflammation of radiation proctitis may be improved with laser ablation to reduce symptoms of bleeding. This is most effective when relatively limited areas of the rectum are involved.
More diffuse areas of radiation proctits may be improved with instillation of formalin in the rectum to try to reduce bleeding. This is a specialized procedure which should be done in a controlled environment following protocol.
A subset of ulcerative colitis in which the inflammatory changes are limited to the rectum. In general, this results in less symptoms and is more responsive to therapy than more extensive colitis. Because the disease is limited to the lower large intestine, medications administered via the rectum such as enemas or suppositories are often effective. Although ulcerative proctitis may respond well to therapy it can become a chronic condition.