• WordNet 3.6
    • n tenesmus painful spasm of the anal sphincter along with an urgent desire to defecate without the significant production of feces; associated with irritable bowel syndrome
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Tenesmus (Med) An urgent and distressing sensation, as if a discharge from the intestines must take place, although none can be effected; -- always referred to the lower extremity of the rectum.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n tenesmus In medicine, a continual inclination to void the contents of the bowels or bladder, accompanied by straining, but with little or no discharge. It is caused by an irritation of the rectum or bladder or adjacent parts, and is a common symptom in dysentery, stricture of the urethra, cystitis, etc.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Tenesmus tē-nes′mus the term applied in medicine to a straining and painful effort to relieve the bowels when no fæcal matter is present in the rectum, the effort being caused by some adjacent source of irritation
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
NL., fr. Gr. , fr. to stretch: cf. L. tenesmos,


In literature:

Others became shockingly distressed with tenesmus; in fact, there were few without complaints.
"The Eventful History Of The Mutiny And Piratical Seizure Of H.M.S. Bounty: Its Cause And Consequences" by Sir John Barrow
Tenesmus, or straining, often accompanies it.
"The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English" by R. V. Pierce
Tenesmus, diarrhoea, the motions containing blood and mucus.
"Aids to Forensic Medicine and Toxicology" by W. G. Aitchison Robertson
During this slumber, fever, pain and tenesmus disappear, and the patient wakes with a feeling of health.
"Apis Mellifica" by C. W. Wolf
Aloe given internally seems to act chiefly on the rectum and, spincter ani, producing tenesmus and piles.
"Zoonomia, Vol. II" by Erasmus Darwin
If the abstinence is continued for two or three days he has borborygmi, occasionally tenesmus.
"The Fijians" by Basil Thomson
The pain was similar to a vesical tenesmus, a pain in the region of the neck of the bladder and prostate gland.
"New, Old, and Forgotten Remedies: Papers by Many Writers" by Various
In other cases there is diarrhoea with rumbling in the bowels, but without pain or tenesmus.
"A System of Practical Medicine by American Authors, Vol. I" by Various
In some instances there is troublesome tenesmus, with heat and excoriation about the anus.
"Memoranda on Poisons" by Thomas Hawkes Tanner
If the disposition to tenesmus be troublesome, a small injection of starch and opium will afford relief.
"A System of Midwifery" by Edward Rigby