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Proctitis is an inflammation of the rectum. Proctitis causes discomfort eliminating, rectal bleeding, and occasionally, a rectal discharge of mucus or pus. Proctitis symptoms can be short-lived, or they may become chronic.

Causes of Proctitis

  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases - STD's:
    Infectious proctitis is often due to STD's such as the herpes simplex virus (HSV), Chlamydia, or gonorrhea acquired during intercourse.
  • Autoimmune diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's Disease
    Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammation of the large intestine (colon). Ulcerative colitis limited to the rectum is called ulcerative proctitis.
    Crohn's Disease is an (IBD) inflammatory bowel disease causing chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Non-sexually transmitted infections
    Non-sexually transmitted infections caused by the same bacteria that causes strep throat occurring in children.
  • Medications and radiation therapy for cancer

Proctitis and HSV-2 in gay men

HSV-2 infection of the anal area is a frequent cause of proctitis in gay men. In a study of 102 gay men with proctitis, 23 (23%) were infected with HSV-2. The relative frequency of HSV proctitis in gay men corresponds to the high incidence of anal intercourse in this population.

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