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Proctitis

Proctitis means soreness and swelling (inflammation) of the rectum, which is the passage that carries faeces (poo) out of the body. It is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI) but can be caused by STIs. 

Proctitis can occur in men and women, and is more common in people who have anal sex. 

Please be aware that you can be tested and treated for proctitis at your nearest GP surgery or at GUM or sexual health clinics. Brook services do not offer testing or treatment for proctitis but if we think you may have proctitis, we will always do our best to advise you on where you can go for further help.

You can read about proctitis in more detail below.

Signs and symptoms of proctitis

Proctitis symptoms may be temporary or longer-term and may include:

  • Pain during a bowel movement (going for a poo)
  • Soreness in your anal area
  • Feeling like you haven’t completely emptied your bowels
  • Spasms or cramping during bowel movements

Causes of proctitis

Testing for proctitis

Proctitis diagnosis will depend on what is suspected to have caused it. If it isn’t thought to be linked to a sexually transmitted infection, you may require further tests with a specialist. This may include a procedure that involves inserting a camera into the rectum in order to examine the surface of your rectum. As part of this, the doctor may take a small piece of tissue from your rectum or a sample of discharge for testing.

Please be aware that you can be tested and treated for proctitis at your nearest GP surgery or at GUM or sexual health clinics. Brook services do not offer testing or treatment for proctitis but if we think you may have proctitis, we will always do our best to advise you on where you can go for further help.

Treatment for proctitis

Because proctitis is generally caused by sexually transmitted infections, treatment will focus on dealing with the STI. 

Although not all cases of proctitis are caused by an STI, it is possible to pass it on during sex so it is recommended that you don’t have sex until it has cleared up.

It is important that you tell your current and any recent sexual partners if you are being treated for an STI, so that they go for treatment too. In the UK it is recommended you tell any sexual partners you have had over the last six months. The staff at Brook or sexual health clinics can help if you find it hard to talk to them about this.

Some clinics may also offer to contact your partner using what’s called a ‘contact slip’. This is to warn them they may have been exposed and to recommend they get tested and it doesn’t mention your name.

Page last reviewed: September 2015
Next review due: September 2017