Tenesmus is the feeling that you need to pass stools, even though your bowels are already empty. It may involve straining, pain, and cramping.
Pain - passing stool; Painful stools; Difficulty passing stool
Tenesmus most often occurs with inflammatory diseases of the bowels. These diseases may be caused by an infection or other conditions.
It can also occur with diseases that affect the normal movements of the intestines. These diseases are known as motility disorders.
People with tenesmus may push very hard (strain) to try to empty their bowels. However, they will only pass a small amount of stool.
The condition may be caused by:
Increasing the amount of fiber and fluid in your diet can help ease constipation.
Contact your health care provider if you continue to have symptoms of tenesmus that are constant or come and go.
Also call if you have:
These symptoms could be a sign of a disease that might be causing the problem.
The provider will examine you and ask questions such as:
The physical exam may include a detailed abdominal exam. A rectal exam is performed in most cases.
Tests that may be done include:
Kuemmerle JF. Inflammatory and anatomic diseases of the intestine, peritoneum, mesentery, and omentum. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 133.
Quick CRG, Biers SM, Arulampalam THA. Nonacute abdominal pain and other abdominal symptoms and signs. In: Quick CRG, Biers SM, Arulampalam THA, eds. Essential Surgery Problems, Diagnosis and Management. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 18.
Tanksley JP, Willett CG, Czito BG, Palta M. Acute and chronic gastrointestinal side effects of radiation therapy. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 41.
There are no recent clinical trials available for this condition. Please check back because new trials are being conducted frequently.