Imagine going to the restroom over and over and over … only to sit in pain with nothing really happening. Possibly you had bowel urgency in the morning but your body tells you that you’re not finished yet, even if there’s nothing left to do. You’re left sitting there, with spasms and the feeling that you have to go when nothing comes out but bloody mucus and gas.
What is tenesmus? Tenesmus is the feeling of needing to go to the bathroom, of your body telling you that you need a bowel movement, and of not having or needing one.
Tenesmus can be generalized as inflammation within your rectum area. With any indicator that your rectum receives that you need to go, whether it be minuscule stool or gas, the rectum contracts and expands, and with the inflammation, tenesmus can happen all day, all the time. Rushing to bathrooms just to sit in pain with rectal contractions for hours contributes to a poor quality of life with stress and worry.
With tenesmus, the body can be left thinking it was not “finished” or that you still need to go. Tenesmus can cause the feeling of urgency and worries of incontinence. Sometimes you can have persistent spams, cramps, chills and fever, pain and nausea, even rectal burning, as well as other IBD symptoms. Additionally, too much straining and spasms can lead to rectal bleeding and mucus in stool.
Tenesmus can also lead to fissures and rectal tears, and even rectal prolapse with too much straining and rectal spasms. Tenesmus could be related to IBD flaring and digestive inflammation, or to anal problems like abscesses or fistulas, and even to hemorrhoids or tumors.
In my experience, tenesmus is exhausting. This past week, I spent every morning suffering from tenesmus and rectal spasms. I get cold chills and clammy with pretty severe gut-wrenching pain that has me bent over holding my stomach. For me, it comes in waves. I’ll have a moment when I think its over, only to be right back in the bathroom, almost in tears sometimes. My experience is sudden urgency, like extreme urgency or else there’s an accident, always with diarrhea, sometimes bloody. After, I’m left with nothing but fake bowel sensations, painful spasms, and bloody mucus, without any bowel movements left to be had.
With tenesmus, there are no tests for diagnosis and your doctor may have suggestions for helping these symptoms. Being seen by your gastroenterology and primary care team and keeping them up to date on your symptoms can be beneficial.
For me, It Could Be Worse.
Note: IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of IBD News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to IBD.
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