Tenesmus is a term used to describe the experience of straining to empty an already empty bowel (rectal tenesmus) or bladder (bladder or vesical tenesmus). Tenesmus is an ongoing feeling of a need to empty, and sufferers can experience cramps, pain and feelings of urgency and/or incomplete evacuation. Efforts to continue emptying result in minimal passage of urine or stool.
Rectal tenesmus is a symptom associated with a variety of medical conditions, including:
- Anorectal or colorectal abscess or tumor
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Proctitis from radiation treatment
Essential Reading from Dr. Bolen, your IBS Guide: