BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuTenesmusPain - passing stool; Painful stools; Difficulty passing stoolTenesmus is the feeling that you need to pass stools, even though your bowels are already empty. It may involve straining, pain, and cramping. Considerations 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. Causes The condition may be caused by:Anorectal abscess Anorectal abscessAn anorectal abscess is a collection of pus in the area of the anus and rectum.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Colorectal cancer or tumors Colorectal cancerColorectal cancer is cancer that starts in the large intestine (colon) or the rectum (end of the colon). Other types of cancer can affect the colon. ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Crohn disease Crohn diseaseCrohn disease is a disease where parts of the digestive tract become inflamed. It most often involves the lower end of the small intestine and the be...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Infection of the colon (infectious colitis) Inflammation of the colon or rectum from radiation (radiation proctitis or colitis) Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) Movement (motility) disorder of the intestines Ulcerative colitis or ulcerative proctitisUlcerative colitisUlcerative colitis is a condition in which the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum become inflamed. It is a form of inflammatory bowel ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Home Care Increasing the amount of fiber and fluid in your diet can help ease constipation. When to Contact a Medical Professional 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:Abdominal pain Blood in the stool Chills Fever Nausea VomitingThese symptoms could be a sign of a disease that might be causing the problem. What to Expect at Your Office Visit The provider will examine you and ask questions such as:When did this problem occur? Have you had it before? What symptoms are you having? Have you eaten any raw, new, or unfamiliar foods? Have you eaten at a picnic or large gathering? Do any others in your household have similar problems? What other health problems do you have or have had in the past? The physical exam may include a detailed abdominal exam. A rectal exam is performed in most cases.Tests that may be done include:Colonoscopy to look at the colon and rectum ColonoscopyA colonoscopy is an exam that views the inside of the colon (large intestine) and rectum, using a tool called a colonoscope. The colonoscope has a sm...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Complete blood count (CBC) CBCA complete blood count (CBC) test measures the following:The number of red blood cells (RBC count)The number of white blood cells (WBC count)The tota...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article CT scan of the abdomen (in rare cases) CT scan of the abdomenAn abdominal CT scan is an imaging method. This test uses x-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the belly area. CT stands for computed tomog...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Proctosigmoidoscopy (an examination of the lower bowel) Stool cultures Stool culturesA fecal culture is a lab test to find organisms in the stool (feces) that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms and disease.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article X-rays of the abdomen Open ReferencesReferencesKuemmerle 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.AllVideoImagesTogLower digestive anatomy - illustration Food passes from the stomach into the small intestine. In the small intestine all nutrient absorption occurs. Whatever has not been absorbed by the small intestine passes into the colon. In the colon most of the water is absorbed from the food residue. The residue is then eliminated from the body as feces.Lower digestive anatomyillustrationLower digestive anatomy - illustration Food passes from the stomach into the small intestine. In the small intestine all nutrient absorption occurs. Whatever has not been absorbed by the small intestine passes into the colon. In the colon most of the water is absorbed from the food residue. The residue is then eliminated from the body as feces.Lower digestive anatomyillustrationRelated Information Review Date: 7/16/2020 Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. 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