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Proctitis: Care Instructions


Proctitis is inflammation of the lining of the rectum. It can be a short-term or long-term problem. Many things can cause proctitis. It may be a side effect of medical treatments, such as radiation therapy or antibiotics. Some sexually transmitted infections may also cause proctitis. It may be related to ulcerative colitis or to Crohn's disease. Other causes include bacterial infection, allergies, or injury or nerve problems in the rectum.

Common symptoms include pain or itching in the rectum and a constant or frequent strong need to have a bowel movement. You may have a change in bowel habits; a fever; and mucus, blood, or pus in your stools.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Some complementary treatments may help. These include acupuncture and natural health products. Be sure to talk to your doctor before you use any complementary treatment.
  • Avoid anal intercourse. This will prevent further damage to the anal canal and give it time to heal.
  • Avoid foods that seem to make your symptoms worse. Common problem foods include dairy products, foods and drinks that contain caffeine, and high-fat foods. These foods can irritate the digestive tract and make conditions like ulcerative colitis worse.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse pain.
  • You have new or worse bleeding from the rectum.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You cannot pass stools or gas.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.