What is rectal tenesmus?
- Rectal Tenesmus or tenesmus is the condition in which there is continuous urge to pass the stool, even if your bowels are already empty. It may involve discomfort and straining during bowel movements, only to produce a small amount of stool.
Symptoms of rectal tenesmus
Symptoms of tenesmus include:
- Urgency to pass the stool and evacuate your bowels
- Passing only a small amount of stool
- Straining and discomfort during passing the stool
- Continuous desire to pass the stool even on empty colon
Causes of Rectal tenesmus
Tenesmus may occur as a symptom of a number of conditions involving the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Medical conditions that can cause tenesmus may include:
- Inflammatory bowel syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis (UC)
- Crohn’s disease
- Rectal prolapse
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI) of the rectum
- Ano-rectal motility disorders
- Any kind of viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections of the colon
- Rectal abscesses
- Certain types of abdominal surgery
- Colorectal cancer
- Chronic conditions that cause inflammatory changes in your GI (digestive) tract can be cause for rectal tenesmus.
- In Conditions like Crohn’s disease and UC, ulcerations in GIT occur that cause scarring in your GI tract. Due to this scarring it becomes difficult to pass stool, leading to symptoms like tenesmus
When to see a doctor?
If you are suffering from tenesmus, you should consult with your doctor about your symptoms. You may have symptoms
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in your stool
- Fever with chills
Diagnosis of Rectal tenesmus
To diagnose the condition of tenesmus and its cause, your doctor does physical examination. Doctor will take your complete medical history and will ask about your symptoms like weight loss or bloody stools.
Some investigations that may be helpful to identify the causes of tenesmus include:
- Imaging studies, such as:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Stool samples, to check for infections
- Blood tests
- If doctor suspects for STI, doctor may take a culture (sample) from the rectum.
What are the treatment options for tenesmus?
The treatment for tenesmus involve
Medical treatments for tenesmus will vary from patient to patient and depends upon the cause of your tenesmus.
Medication that is used for IBD is aimed to treat the inflammation that is causing your symptoms. Medications that are commonly prescribed:
- Anti-inflammatory medications – Help to reduce your inflammation are usually the first step in treatment. Corticosteroids and aminosalicylates are common examples.
- Immuno-modulators or biologic therapies –These are used to reduce immune system
- If your tenesmus is linked to your GIT infection, your doctor might treat your condition with antibiotics.
- Most STIs are also treated with antibiotics.
- If tenesmus is due to the constipation then laxatives, stool softeners, or fiber supplements may be helpful for you. Or any other medications that can make your bowel movements regular can be prescribed.
Prevention of tenesmus at home
If you are suffering from conditions like IBD, IBS, constipation, or a motility disorder that is causing your symptoms, then you relieve your cramps and discomfort by making some dietary and lifestyle modifications. By using these methods you can also prevent tenesmus.
Drinking plenty of water
- Drinking water is helpful in making your stool is soft and pass stool easily. So make sure to drink 10-12 glass of water daily.
Changes to your diet
- Taking a high fiber diet is one of the best ways to relieve tenesmus that’s caused by constipation or IBS. Eating 20 gm. of fiber daily will make your stool softer and add weight to it. This helps your body to pass stool more easily.
- But if tenesmus is due to IBD, then taking high fiber foods can actually trigger symptoms. Your doctor may help you to identify trigger foods that you should avoid, especially during an IBD flare.
- Physical activity stimulates movement in your intestines. Exercising regularly regularize bowel movements and prevent tenesmus by helping your intestines move waste through your GI tract, particularly if you have IBS or constipation.
If your tenesmus is due constipation, your doctor may suggest bowel training. This may involve:
- Don’t wait or hold whenever you have an urge to go
- Setting a schedule for bowel movements every day
- Relaxing your muscles when you try to pass stool
Ayurvedic Treatment of Rectal tenesmus
- Ayurvedic medicine is an old holistic approach to wellness. Ayurveda deals with the well-being of body, mind, and spirit. It encourages you to consider all three when managing health issues.
- In Ayurveda, any diseased condition is due to vitiation of doshas or when toxins are present.
- Ayurvedic medicine aims to restore balance. It does this through natural treatments by removing accumulated toxins in the body.
First treat the Ama (Free radicles or toxins)
- In Ayurveda, the Agni (or digestive fire) is responsible for proper metabolism of your body. If your digestive fire is weak, then this may lead to various digestion related issues.
- As a result of the incomplete digestion, your body may develop Ama, or toxins. This further lead to various disorders like IBS , UC etc. as result of a weak Agni and buildup of toxins that may cause tenesmus.
- That’s why the first step in Ayurvedic medicine is to treat the Ama and balance the vitiated agni.
Then balance the three doshas
- As our wellness depends upon the equilibrium of three doshas.
Some Ayurvedic steps to stay healthy
- Reset your digestive system with healthy diet
- Try meditation, massage, or aromatherapy to reduce stress
- Practice yoga for all-body wellness
- Try herbal tonics/ medicines to balance doshas
For detailed information you can visit our website
Vaidya Karanvir Singh is the younger Vaidya in Chandigarh Ayurved & Panchakarma Centre. He is the fourth generation in his family who is practicing as a general consultant in Ayurved & Panchakarma treatment at Chandigarh. In his practice, he had treated more than 1000 plus patients worldwide.