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Name of Symptom/Sign:
Rectal tenesmus
Classifications and external resources
ICD-10 R19.8
ICD-9 787.99

Tenesmus is a feeling of incomplete defecation. It is experienced as an inability or difficulty to empty the bowel at defecation. It is frequently painful and may be accompanied by involuntary straining and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

"Vesical tenesmus" is a similar condition, referring to difficult or failed attempts to urinate despite the bladder feeling full.

"Rectal tenesmus" is sometimes used as a retronym to further distinguish defecation-related tenesmus from vesical tenesmus.[1]


Tenesmus is characterized by a sensation of needing to pass stool, accompanied by pain, cramping, and straining. Despite straining, little stool is passed. Tenesmus is generally associated with inflammatory diseases of the bowel, which may be caused by either infectious or noninfectious conditions. Conditions associated with tenesmus include:

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Tenesmus". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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