What are proctitis and anusitis?

Updated: Mar 27, 2020
  • Author: David E Stein, MD; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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Answer

Inflammation of the mucosal lining of the rectum is defined as proctitis, whereas anusitis is simply inflammation of the anal canal. Inflammation in these areas can cause symptoms, such as itching, burning, rectal bleeding, pelvic pressure, and foul-smelling discharge. The distinction between proctitis and anusitis is not overly pertinent, in that the etiology and the treatment of anusitis and proctitis are similar. For the purposes of this article, the term proctitis will be understood to include anusitis.

Several different etiologies exist, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), infectious organisms (eg, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Salmonella, Shigella), noninfectious causes (eg, radiation, ischemic, diversion), and idiopathic causes. For convenience, these etiologies may be divided into three broad categories: IBD, infectious proctitis, and noninfectious proctitis.

Proctitis can occur in both the acute setting and the chronic setting and can cause significant anorectal complaints. Treatment is generally nonsurgical; however, in certain cases, surgery is indicated.


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