Dr Hilary Jones discusses bowel cancer awareness acronym
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Bowel cancer is a general term for cancerous cells that multiply uncontrollably in the large bowel (colon and rectum). If it’s detected early enough, treatment can cure bowel cancer and stop it coming back. Unfortunately, because the symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle and do not necessarily make you feel ill, it is not usually picked up until it has advanced. Experiencing tenesmus is a strong indicator of your risk. What is it?
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), colorectal 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.
“Vesical tenesmus is a separate condition that relates to the urinary bladder.
“A person will feel as if they are unable to empty the bladder, even when there is no urine present.”
Abdominal pain in colorectal cancer is nonspecific, said the National Library of Health.
The site added: “It can be colicky in nature if the lesion is causing a partial obstruction.
“Otherwise, it can just be constant localized or generalized pain. In the former instance, a localized perforation has to be considered, whereas peritonitis associated with a perforation must be considered in the latter.
“Tenesmus or the feeling of having to defecate without having stools, pain upon defecation, or sciatica can be symptoms of rectal cancer.”
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When a person has tenesmus, they might strain harder to produce only a small amount of stool during bowel movements.
Other conditions which could tenesmus include a colon infection which can be caused by organisms such as a bacteria or virus, ischemic colitis which is an inflammation of the colon due to decreased blood flow to that area, diverticulitis caused by inflammation of the 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, a prolapsed haemorrhoid, rectal abscess or rectal gonorrhoea.
It’s important to speak with your GP about your symptoms as they will be able to determine the cause of your tenesmus.
Other possible causes for tenesmus which 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
- Diverticulitis, 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
According to Mayo Clinic, treatment for bowel cancer usually involves surgery to remove the cancer.
Other treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, might also be recommended.
If your toilet habits have changed recently or you notice any unusual colours or shapes in your stools its imperative to speak with your GP immediately.
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