The following symptoms and conditions are often found in a wide variety of age groups. Many patients are told they have irritable bowel syndrome (a very troublesome but benign condition) and whilst this may be the case, if these symptoms are new, they should be investigated urgently. This is best done by someone who specialises in abdominal pain or in investigating changes in bowel habit, such as diarrhoea and or blood coming from the back passage. After an initial consultation, the next step would be to perform a colonoscopy – an examination of you bowel using a flexible camera called an endoscope (see Endoscopy section). This will often yield a diagnosis but at the very least allows peace of mind, as it can exclude more serious conditions such as bowel cancer.
- A change in bowel habit
- Blood in the stool
- Weight loss
- Rectal bleeding
- Family history of bowel or colon cancer
- Abdominal pain
- Fatty or difficult to flush stools.
Conditions causing such symptoms can include:
- Cancers of the bowel or colon
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Iron Deficiency Anaemia
- Diverticular disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Lymphocytic or collagenous colitis
- Colonic polyps