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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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Posted by: Virginia
Date: March 8, 2001 4:16 PM

My daughter has proctitis just diagnosed. Her symptoms are rectal bleeding, which has gotten worse recently. The doctor said she has proctitis which will improve with treatment, but will never really go away. They don't know why this happens. What do you know about this illness?

RE: proctitis
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: March 9, 2001 4:11 AM

Proctitis is inflammation of the lining of the rectum, called the rectal mucosa. Treatment and prognosis depend on the cause in an individual's case. Proctitis can be short term (acute) or long term (chronic) and has many possible causes. It may be a side effect of medical treatments like radiation therapy or antibiotics. Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, and sexually transmitted diseases may also cause proctitis. Other causes include rectal injury, bacterial infection, allergies, and malfunction of the nerves in the rectum. The most common symptom is a frequent or continuous sensation or urge to have a bowel movement. Other symptoms include constipation, a feeling of rectal fullness, left-sided abdominal pain, passage of mucus through the rectum, rectal bleeding, and anorectal pain. Physicians diagnose proctitis by looking inside the rectum with a proctoscope or a sigmoidoscope. A biopsy may be removed and tested for diseases or infections. The physician may prescribe antibiotics for proctitis caused by bacterial infection. If the inflammation is caused by Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, the physician may recommend the drug 5-aminosalicyclic acid (5ASA) or corticosteroids applied directly to the area or taken in pill form. More natural therapies include colon cleansing and isopathic remedies to deal with the infectious component. It is important to rule out cancer as some of the same symptoms can occur.

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