Tenesmus is the feeling that you need to go to the toilet but your bowel is empty. It can involve straining, pain and cramping. It can be caused by cramps (spasms) in the muscles that stimulate the bowel.
Tell your doctor or nurse if you have these symptoms.
If your symptoms are a late effect of cancer treatment, your doctor may suggest:
Below is a sample of the sources used in our tenesmus information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at email@example.com
Andreyev HJN, Muls AC, Norton C, et al. Guidance: The practical management of the gastrointestinal symptoms of pelvic radiation disease. Frontline Gastroenterology, 2015; 6, 53-72.
Sterner A, Derwinger K, Staff C, et al. Quality of life in patients treated for anal carcinoma—a systematic literature review. International Journal of Colorectal Disease, 2019, 34, 1517–1528.
This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Chief Medical Editor, Professor Tim Iveson, Consultant Medical Oncologist.
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