Tenesmus is a condition closely connected to constipation. Since constipation is so chronic in the American public, over $700 million is spent on over-the-counter laxatives to treat it annually. Currently, constipation affects approximately fifteen percent of the population in the United States and accounts for 2.5 million doctor appointments every year. The sad reality is that ninety-five percent of these doctor visits could have been treated without the help of a medical expert, since constipation can usually be avoided with a simple lifestyle adjustment.
Tenesmus begins with constant constipation, and can be associated with irritable bowel syndrome. It is usually identified by painful spasms of the anal sphincter accompanied by an urgent desire to have a bowel movement, which generally produces very little, or no feces. These uncomfortable spasms can cause long-lasting straining and cramps, and are most often caused by one of many inflammatory bowel diseases affecting the gastrointestinal or digestive tract.
In acute cases, it may be produced by an infection in the colon, a rectal abscess, colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, or an ulcerative colitis. In rare cases, it could be caused by hemorrhoids, anorexia, multiple sclerosis, cervical cancer, prostrate tumor, endometriosis of the rectum, dysentery, or bladder cancer. If your symptoms include nausea, vomiting, chills, fever, or blood in the stool, it is best to see a doctor to check for one of these chronic conditions. In Tampa Bay, Bay Care has several locations that can help with your screening, or you can get a referral from your primary care physician to any hospital or lab that can help discover the cause of your gastrointestinal problem.
The good news is that very few cases of tenesmus are a result of one of these chronic conditions. Usually it is a modern day problem that stems from refined or fast foods, lack of physical activity, and additional stress.
When one realizes that the average American only eats between five to fifteen grams of fiber every day when the recommended amount is between twenty-five to thirty-five grams, it is clear to see how our inadequate diets are working against us. Fiber softens the stool and makes it heavier, so your digestive tract can eliminate it naturally with little effort and without any pain.
You can get more fiber in your diet with fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, and plenty of whole grains. It is important to have at least two servings of each every day. Choose fresh salads in the summer and wholesome soups in the winter. Be sure to stay away from sugary snacks, refined flour, fried foods, too much salt, processed foods, and junk food.
Drinking enough water daily is extremely important for a healthy bowel movement. The liquid helps flush out toxins that build up in the intestines, softens the stool, and allows everything to flow a little better. Coconut water and 100% fruit juices, especially citrus juices, are good for the digestion and should replace sodas, sugary drinks, and alcohol.
To reboot your digestive system, add a healthy amount of regular exercise to the mix. This not only stimulates better digestion, but also rejuvenates the entire body and tones the muscles. It will also elevate your immune system to aid in preventing illness or a disease that could compromise your gastrointestinal tract.
If you’ve been suffering from painful and unsuccessful bowel movements, make these three basic changes in your lifestyle: good wholesome high-in-fiber food, plenty of healthy natural liquids, and enough moderate exercise to stay in shape. This will improve your digestion and your overall health, which in turn will produce a positive effect in your mental capacities and mood. It’s good to know that just a little life balance can give you the cure you seek.