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Find out about the symptoms, causes and treatment of 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 anyone, and is more common in people who have anal sex.
Proctitis symptoms may be temporary or longer-term and may include:
There are many causes of proctitis but sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhoea, syphilis, herpes, genital warts and chlamydia are the most common.
Other causes may include:
Proctitis diagnosis will depend on what is suspected to have caused it. If it’s not caused by a STI, you may require further tests with a specialist.
This may include a procedure that involves inserting a camera into the rectum to examine the surface. 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. Find your nearest clinic using our find a service tool. 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.
Because proctitis is generally caused by STIs, 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.
TELL YOUR PREVIOUS PARTNERS
It is important that you tell your current and any recent sexual partners (last six months) if you are being treated for an STI, so that they go for treatment too.
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.
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