Cryptitis is an inflammatory disease affecting the human rectum. It is caused in particular by problems with bowel movements, which result in inflammation of the anal papillae. Later on, an infection of the anal gland itself may develop.
What is cryptitis?
With the advent of the condition, itching in the anal region and pain during bowel movements occur. This pain during or after voiding is the main symptom of cryptitis. See AbbreviationFinder for abbreviations related to Cryptitis.
Doctors understand the term cryptitis to be an inflammation in the rectum. The transition from the anal canal to the rectum consists of anal papillae and so-called crypts.
The latter are pockets that open into anal glands. If one of these orifices becomes blocked, cryptitis develops, an inflammation that can later develop into an infection of the anal gland itself. Most often, problems with bowel movements are responsible for the inflammation, in which feces get into the pockets of the anal papillae.
Cryptitis often goes unnoticed at first until it manifests itself through symptoms such as itching, pain or a foreign body sensation in the area of the anus. In many cases, the disease progresses without complications; in individual cases, however, an operation may be necessary to open the abscesses that have formed.
In most cases, the causes of cryptitis are problems with bowel movements. Normally, the bowel is emptied without feces entering or becoming lodged in the crypts.
However, if a blockage occurs, for example, so that emptying cannot take place over a longer period of time, the faeces may be pushed back. In this way he can also get into the crypts. Since the droppings are usually very hard in this state, it can happen that the sensitive mucous membrane is injured.
If the stool comes into contact with these, inflammatory conditions develop; Experts then speak of cryptitis. The infection can also develop if the person concerned suffers from stool that is too soft or mushy and this settles in the crypts for a long time.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
The cryptitis presents itself with quite typical symptoms. These often coincide with the symptoms of an anal fistula. Thus, with the advent of the ailment, itching in the anal region and pain during bowel movements occur. This pain during or after voiding is the main symptom of cryptitis. Occasionally there is bleeding after a bowel movement.
After some time, there will be more and more problems with emptying the stool. The stool is held back and hard. In addition, there is a feeling in the anal region as if there were a foreign body in it. This can lead to further stool retention, occasionally leading to constipation. The hard bowel movements also lead to further pain.
The increasing inflammation can lead to a burning sensation in the anus. The itching usually persists anyway. Eventually, the inflammation can lead to the formation of abscesses and fistulas, increasing foreign body sensation and pain during and after a bowel movement. The abscess formation may be accompanied by general malaise and fever.
Psychological symptoms of cryptitis are above all an increased feeling of shame and a great deal of suffering due to the problematic use of the toilet. The feeling of shame feeds primarily on the area affected by cryptitis.
Diagnosis & History
Cryptitis is often not recognized directly, since the symptoms are very similar to those of hemorrhoids and the inflamed crypts are mistaken for hemorrhoids.
If a doctor is consulted because of itching, burning or pain after defecation, this can only be determined by means of a very precise examination with a finger. The affected region in the anal area is scanned piece by piece and also examined with an anal speculum and a very thin probe.
Colonoscopies or similar examination methods provide a meaningful diagnosis here. Untreated cryptitis progresses to more difficult bowel movements and is associated with pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. It can grow into an abscess or fistula, which may then need to be surgically removed.
Due to cryptitis, those affected suffer from various complaints, which mainly occur in the intestines and stomach. The quality of life of the patient is significantly restricted and reduced by the cryptitis. Those affected primarily suffer from severe pain that occurs during bowel movements.
It is not uncommon for mental disorders or depression to occur. It is not uncommon for those affected to suffer from weight loss as a result of deliberately eating less food to prevent bowel movements. Itching can also develop. Many patients are ashamed of these symptoms, which often results in delayed treatment. Those affected can also complain about a foreign body sensation in the anus.
In most cases, cryptitis can be treated relatively well and easily. As a rule, there are no special complications or other complaints. The life expectancy of those affected is usually not reduced by cryptitis. The patient must also pay attention to a healthy diet. Various sphincter exercises can also relieve the symptoms. In most cases, this leads to a positive course of the disease in the patient.
When should you go to the doctor?
If pain and discomfort during bowel movements occur repeatedly, a doctor should be consulted. If the food intake is balanced and healthy, abnormalities in defecation are a warning and should be checked out by a doctor. When adequately hydrated, abnormalities in bowel movements are a sign of an irregularity that needs to be investigated and treated. If the stool is soft to mushy for several days or weeks, you should see a doctor. If the symptoms spread or the existing pain increases, a doctor is needed. If you experience itching on the anus, open wounds or bleeding, consult a doctor.
Pathogens can get into the organism and, in severe cases, cause blood poisoning. A doctor’s visit is therefore necessary as soon as pus forms at the outlet of the intestine or there is severe reddening of the anus. If the affected person perceives the feeling of a foreign body or a diffuse feeling of pressure in the area of the rectum, a doctor should be consulted. If you feel restless, have trouble moving, or are uncomfortable in a sitting position, you should seek medical help. If there is a general feeling of illness, an increased body temperature or if the person concerned refuses to eat because of the symptoms, a doctor must be consulted.
Treatment & Therapy
If cryptitis has been diagnosed, it can usually be treated quite well. To eliminate the inflammation, the attending physician will prescribe appropriate medication. These must be given directly to or in the affected region.
These are creams, ointments or suppositories that can best reach the exact location of the inflammation in the crypts. If abscesses or fistulas have already formed, or if the inflamed crypts are so severely affected that they can no longer be treated with medication, surgical intervention is required. The patient himself can also do a lot to alleviate the symptoms.
This often includes adjusting your diet to ensure firm and regular bowel movements. Sphincter muscle exercises improve blood circulation in the anal area and also contribute to faster healing of cryptitis. The same applies to a gentle massage of the anal edge with your finger.
Outlook & Forecast
The prognosis of cryptitis is described as favorable. Under normal circumstances, a diagnosis is made followed by the development of a treatment plan. This provides for a short treatment period, which then ends in freedom from symptoms. Without medical care, there is a risk of subsequent disorders and serious health consequences. Due to the retention of the faeces, the intestines can no longer fully carry out their natural work. In particularly severe cases, tumors can develop or pain can develop. If the possibility of treatment is still ruled out, the person concerned is at risk of premature death.
In cooperation with a doctor, preparations are administered that lead to rapid relief of the symptoms. Inflammatory processes are stopped and regular bowel movements are monitored. Through massages in the anal area, those affected can also independently contribute to improving their state of health. This supports the recovery process and prevents subsequent disorders.
If tissue changes form, these secondary disorders can be removed in some patients. Interventions of this type usually proceed without further complications and are characterized by a short treatment time. After the healing of the wound has subsided, the affected person is discharged from therapy as having recovered. Despite good prospects for recovery, cryptitis can recur in the course of life. It is therefore advisable to obtain sufficient information about healthy bowel movements.
A balanced diet and regular, firm but not too hard stools can prevent cryptitis to some extent. This can prevent feces from getting stuck in the crypts and causing inflammation. If symptoms such as pain or itching in the anal area occur, a doctor should be consulted.
Once healed, cryptitis does not require any follow-up care. The patient can go on with his normal life. There are no significant limitations in everyday use. In order to avoid further complications, a balanced diet is recommended. However, this is necessary for a healthy and balanced life anyway.
The responsibility for this lies in the patient’s area of life. Doctors may be able to provide nutritional advice if necessary. If treatment is delayed, the period of therapy can be extended to several months. In addition to taking painkillers, massages and sphincter exercises are also necessary. Follow-up care is arranged individually and depends on the extent of the complaint.
In the scheduled follow-up examinations, the anus area is scanned. A colonoscopy also provides clarity about the persistence of the cryptitis. Follow-up care is usually associated with cancer. It is intended to detect a life-threatening neoplasm at an early stage. As a result, doctors promise themselves the best possible treatment success.
In contrast, cryptitis does not usually threaten the life of those affected. A new formation from a first illness is also almost impossible. Avoiding recurrence of cryptitis results from a general change in diet. The patient only consults his doctor if there are acute symptoms in the rectum.
You can do that yourself
A cryptitis can be well accompanied by the affected person during the healing process of the same. This requires changes in diet and gentle care of the affected areas – in addition to any medication.
For example, the diet should be changed in such a way that the affected person can have regular bowel movements that are not too soft and are in one piece. This is achieved through a high-fiber diet (psyllium, dried fruit, etc.). In addition, exercise helps the intestines to thicken the stool and remove water from it. More regular bowel movements can prevent further sticking of feces to the inflamed areas. In addition, regular bowel movements are less stressful for the anal area.
Sitz baths enriched with essential oils, tannins, or sea salt can help relieve pain associated with cryptitis. However, they are not suitable for causal treatment. The anal region itself should be stimulated to blood flow in order to accelerate the healing process. Massage of the anus rim and careful stretching exercises can be used for this.
Self-help measures are no longer sufficient for cryptitis that has already formed fistulas or abscesses. It is very unlikely that such severe symptoms of inflammation will heal without medical help.