Bowel cancer is a general term for any cancer which develops in the large bowel. The disease is sometimes referred to as colon or rectal cancer. The early warning signs of bowel cancer can be very subtle making them easily missed which has a detrimental effect as survival of the deadly disease often depends on how far it has progressed. Tenesmus is a warning symptom of bowel cancer. What is it?
What is tenesmus?
Medical News Today said: “Rectal tenesmus, or tenesmus, is a feeling of being unable to empty the large bowel of stool, even if there is nothing left to expel.
“Several medical conditions can cause tenesmus.
“These include inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), bowel cancer, and disorders that affect how muscles move food through the gut.
“It can be painful, especially if there is cramping or other digestive symptoms. The symptoms can come and go, or they may persist long term.”
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Tenesmus can also be a symptom of constipation or diarrhoea. Various factors can cause these, including dietary choices.
Other conditions associated with tenesmus include:
- colon infection, which can be caused by organisms, such as a bacteria or virus
- ischemic colitis, an inflammation of the colon due to decreased blood flow to that area
- diverticulus, caused by inflammation of bulges in the wall of the colon
- inflammation of the colon due to radiation
- the abnormal movement of food or waste in the digestive tract
- irritable bowel syndrome(IBS)
- a prolapsed haemorrhoid
- a rectal abscess
- rectal gonorrhoea
Medical News Today added: “If a person has tenesmus, the doctor will carry out a medical assessment and physical examination to try to find the cause.
“The doctor will ask the individual about their personal and family medical history.
They will also ask about:
- symptoms, such as duration, frequency, severity, and onset
- bowel habits
- diet and lifestyle
- other health problems
How to treat bowel cancer
“Surgery is usually the main treatment for bowel cancer, and may be combined with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or biological treatments, depending on your particular case,” explains the NHS.
While early detection is essential, a complete cure is not always possible, notes the health body.
“There’s sometimes a risk that the cancer could come back at a later stage,” it says.
If you are experiencing unusual toilet habits, its imperative to speak with your GP about the possible cause.