I am 24 years old and have had tenesmus since I was about 18 but just learned I had it. I always knew I had it but never knew what it was. I've never had blood in my stools, never have stomach problems at all (no diarrhea, constipation, cramping, vomitting, changing in bowel habits) and I don't eat great but still my body handles everything fine and my digestive system seems to be strong. I actually read about all the things tenesmus can be a symptom of and they scare me, but wow I don't have any of those other symptoms even in the slightest. My mom has IBS, is it possible that I just have IBS or what? Can one have tenesmus just period...without it being associated with anything negative? I really can't possibly think anything is wrong with me in that area except this, and even with tenesmus I'm never in pain or anything. It's not that big of a deal to me, but I know it's there and that's why I decided to read about it and ask.
BTW, I'm defining tenesmus as the feeling of not quite emptying bowels when I have a bowel movement (I've seen other random definitions online for tenesmus, but this one is the most recurring). One of the definitions I've seen a lot is the urge to defecate but inability to do so. I don't really have that problem...maybe occassionally, but usually I just go quite a bit and then I stop completely without anymore urges to go, although I feel like I COULD go more, if that makes sense...
Anyone have any insight? Ever heard of such a thing? I did some more research and found this post from a doctor for someone with a similar condition:
There are several possible diagnoses for what you are experiencing. These include:
1.Proctalgia Fugax (Pain in the rectum)
2.Tenesmus (persistent spasm of the rectum - usually associated with inflammatory bowel disease) and Levator Ani Syndrome are conditions which come to mind.
3.Levator Ani Syndrome
Here is some information from the Merck Manual on Levator (Ani) Syndrome.
Episodic rectal pain caused by spasm of the levator ani muscle.
Proctalgia fugax (fleeting pain in the rectum) and coccydynia (pain in the coccygeal region) are variants of the levator syndrome, which occurs in both males and females. The pain is typically unrelated to defecation, usually lasts for < 20 min at a time, may be related to sitting, can occur spontaneously, and can awaken the patient from sleep. The pain is often described as a vague ache high in the rectum. The pain may feel as if it would be relieved by the passage of gas or a bowel movement and usually subsides spontaneously within a few minutes. In severe cases, the pain can persist for many hours with recurrences. The patient may have undergone various rectal operations for these symptoms, with no benefit.
Looking at #2 at the top, can Levator cause tenesmus?
I was never diagnosed with tenesmus, but I can identify with most of your symptoms. I went from having a normal twice an early morning bathroom habit to 10 to 15 times a day. It was a constant vague ache in my anal area together with a constant need to go and when I did, there was not much to show for the effort.
I was diagnosed with internal haemorrhoids and three outer skin tags. I never had any bleeding to suggest that I had haemorrhoids. I had a stapled haemorrhoidectomy (PPH) performed as well as a colonoscopy. Nothing found on the colonoscopy but the images received were not that clear. It took 8 weeks for the healing process and the next 4 months I was back to “normal”
Exactly 6 months to the day after the haemorrhoidectomy, all the old symptoms reappeared. I was almost suicidal. I couldn’t live with the constant ache and the constant need to go to the toilet. And then I found this board and read about Psyllium. I have been taking Psyllium husk fibre for a year now and what a difference. I still go too frequently for my liking, sometimes up to five times a day, but this is mostly in the early morning. I also think I am developing an intolerance to some foodstuffs. Alcohol doesn’t help. I enjoy wine and I used to love brandy, but I have had to stop the Brandy altogether.
I am not going to have another haemorrhoidectomy. Not worth the four months of “normality” but will probably have another colonoscopy just to make sure that all is OK.
I should be asking the question, “Can haemorrhoids cause a change of bowel habit as described above”?
I hope some of this helps.