One hundred and fifteen consecutive new women patients were examined in a department of genitourinary medicine for evidence of infection with Chlamydia trachomatis in the rectum, in addition to the routine screening tests performed. An impression smear of the rectal mucosa was made as a semiquantitative assessment of the degree of proctitis, and details of bowel habit and symptoms and of sexual practice were noted. Chlamydial infection was found in the cervices of 15 (13%) and the rectums of six (5%). Rectal infection was significantly associated with rectal bleeding and microscopic evidence of proctitis, but not with diarrhoea or macroscopic proctitis.
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