Your Guide to Proctitis and a Swollen Rectum

A swollen rectum can be a red flag for many things, but more often than not, Proctitis is the first suspect.

This condition leads to swelling in the rectal lining. And while those who are sexually inactive (and those who’ve never engaged in sexual activity before) can be victims, people who engage in sex are more prone to Proctitis.

The rectum is the lower end of your digestive tract, next to your anus. In essence, it links the end of your large intestines to the anus. Any waste matter must pass via the rectum before it exits the body through the anal cavity.

A swollen rectum can cause discomfort and make pooping painful. Though severe and repetitive cases may call for surgery, you can cure many Proctitis infections with prescription antibiotics.

What Causes Proctitis?

Sexually transmitted infections are the leading cause of a swollen rectum or Proctitis. Herpes, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia are all sexually passed-on diseases known to cause a swollen rectum. These infections can transmit from one person to another through body fluids or body contact.

Other causes include 

  1. Sharing dildos, vibrators, and other sex tools and toys can increase the risks of contracting Proctitis. One can unintentionally pass it to their partner if the infection is still in incubation and without symptoms.
  2. An injury to the anus due to rough anal sex can cause trauma in the anus and lead to inflammation of the rectal lining.
  3. Non-STI bacterial infections such as shigella and salmonella are also known to cause a rectal swelling.
  4. Inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can also lead to a swollen rectum. 
  5. An infection (in the rectum) after completing an antibiotic prescription, as seen in bacterium Clostridium difficileRadiation therapies for some cancers, can also lead to Proctitis.

Many of these causes of Proctitis can be avoided, as we shall see later on. First, let’s look at the symptoms of Proctitis.

Symptoms of Proctitis

Bowel discomfort or tenesmus is the most common red flag that may have flag proctitis. Tenesmus is when you experience a frequent urge to move your bowel. It could also manifest with cramping and pain even when you don’t feel like pooping

More Signs and Symptoms of Proctitis ;

  • Bloody feces or Mucus in feces
  • very loose feces
  • watery diarrhea
  • Strange anal secretions or bleeding anus
  • Pimples, sores, and redness of the anus or rectum

And of course, a hurting rectum anus or rectum because of the swelling and soreness. 

Proctitis: Diagnosis & Treatment

The diagnosis for the condition involves a physical exam and a swab. Symptoms like fever, diarrhea, cramps may lead to the collection and testing of the stool sample for bacteria.

Both partners should get tested and treated if one is diagnosed with Proctitis.

Treatments for proctitis focus on easing the inflammation, reducing the pain, and curing the infection. Because proctitis cases vary in severity, treatment can range from simple approaches like antibiotics to complicated stuff like surgery.

That means a doctor suggests a treatment strategy based on the cause(s) of a victim’s Proctitis. 

Dealing with the cause helps alleviate symptoms. Prescription drugs are okay for sexually-transmitted or infection-caused Proctitis. A physician may recommend surgery if your condition is triggered by Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Using Prescription Drugs to Treat Proctitis

You can cure Proctitis with prescription drugs like antifungals and antibiotics. However, when using such drugs, make sure to complete doses as instructed by your physician. Skipping doses may lead to persistent or recurring Proctitis.

If symptoms like a swollen rectum persist or reappear sometime after medication, the best thing to do is to consult your physician.

 It is also advisable to keep off sexual activity for a fortnight or so when under medication. Engaging in sexual intercourse at this time can mean spreading the STI to a partner. Still, if things go out of hand, consult your doctor.

Here are the various prescription drugs to help ease and treat Proctitis:

  • Anti-inflammatory pills can help reduce the swelling and relieve a victim from a hurting rectum.
  • Antibiotics can help treat sexually transmitted infections as well as other infections.
  • Immune-suppressing can also help ease signs and symptoms from conditions like Crohn’s disease.

The doctor will suggest prescription drugs based on the cause(s) of a victim’s Proctitis. Medicines come in the form of pills (which you can swallow) or intravenous drugs (which you inject) or applied ointments.

Prevention is better; Frequent Testing is Best!

To stay safe; (1) use a condom when engaging in sex with strange mates to avoid sexually transmitted infections, (2) stick to one sex partner, (3) Test regularly, and (3) Know and look out for your health (autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s develop silently). And lastly, watch out for a swollen rectum and go for regular STD testing.