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Common Symptoms of Bowel Disease

/media/bowel-disease/library/xray-colon.jpgCommon symptoms of bowel disease:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bright red, or dark red rectal bleeding
  • Persistent change in bowel habit
  • Troublesome constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Anal pain
  • Anal itching
  • Anal soreness
  • Pain, soreness due to piles or haemorrhoidal disease
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Faecal incontinence/loss of control of bowels
  • Iron deficiency anaemia of unknown cause
  • Feelings of incomplete evacuation and irregularity in opening bowels
  • Anal skin tags

The majority of people have a number of the above symptoms at some point in their lives and more often than not these are due to entirely benign reasons – such as child birth or dietary indiscretion. However, bowel cancer is the second commonest cancer in the UK and its symptoms can often be fairly trivial and non specific.

Bowel cancer is uncommon in those people under 60, however, red flag symptoms in the older age group are: a continued change in bowel habit to looseness which may be associated with dark red rectal bleeding. Painless bleeding from the bottom in the absence of soreness or itching is also a concern. Iron deficiency anaemia (which can be diagnosed by a blood test) needs to be investigated to ensure that there is no occult cause for blood loss from the gastro intestinal tract (gut).

People under the age of 60, where there is a strong family history of bowel cancer may warrant screening.

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