Seeing blood in one’s stool is a sign that the person should seek for professional medical care. Ask anyone and they will tell you that this is not normal at all. Once there is blood, it means there is something bothering the gastrointestinal track and it could possibly be proctitis.
Proctitis is best described as an inflammation in the anus and along the rectum area. This usually causes discomfort among the people who have it since they usually experience bleeding or pus and mucus discharge.
Causes of Proctitis
In most rectal diseases, the primary culprit usually is straining during passing of stool. If a person is having difficulty in relieving his/her self, this particular action places a lot of stress in the colon area. This can lead to other complications like constipation that can lead to more serious rectal infection.
Aside from that, some of the causes of proctitis include the following:
- As a sexually transmitted disease, especially if the person engages in anal sex
- Autoimmune disorder
- Non-sexually related infection
- Irritation because of other factors such as radiation therapy for cervical cancer or prostate cancer
- Inability to absorb gluten in the body
- Gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 are just some of the examples of sexually transmitted proctitis. People with suppressed immune systems are very much at risk of developing this complication, as well as those who practice unsafe sex like anal intercourse and the like.
Telltale Signs and Symptoms
Blood in stool is an alarming sign that there is a health threat in the body. Aside from that, here are some of the usual signs and symptoms of proctitis:
- Severe pain during passing of stools
- Bleeding in the rectum
- Frequent urge to move bowel
- Mucus in the rectum
- Rectal pain
- Pain on the left side of the abdomen
- A feeling of having a “full” rectum
Complications of Proctitis
If not treated immediately, proctitis can bring about a series of complications that can impair the quality of life of the patient such as:
- Ulcers – Inflammation in the rectum that becomes chronic can lead to sores (ulcers) in the rectum, particularly in the inside lining.
- Fistulas – Fistulas are little “connections” that develop whenever ulcers are present. This can be very risky because these connections will link organs surrounding your intestine. In women, there is a high possibility that their rectum might connect to the vagina, thereby stool will go through the vaginal canal.
- Anemia – Chronic bleeding that brings bloody stool can make the patient suffer from anemia because of too much blood loss. This can also lead to other complications that will make things worse.
Addressing and Diagnosing Proctitis
Visiting a healthcare professional will lift the worries off the patient because the doctor will be able to address the issue and give out proper care needed by the patient. Tests are mandatory, of course, since they are important in guiding the doctor on which practices and treatment options suit the patient. Some of the tests that the patient will have to go though are the following:
- Colon examination or colonoscopy
- Testing for sexually transmitted disease
- Stool test
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
Depending on the severity of proctitis, medicines vary from one patient to another. The doctor will look into the possible cause of the proctitis to prescribe the right drug information. For example, if the cause is infection, the patient will have to drink antivirals or antibiotics. Likewise, there are also medications to stop bleeding, and even surgery if there is already a large damage in the digestive tract.