Symptoms often associated with colon problems include blood in your stool, recent change in bowel habits, unexplained weight loss, or persistent stomach pain or cramping. However, these symptoms might be caused by something else, so it is important to see your doctor if you are experiencing any of them. Often, there are no symptoms associated with colorectal polyps or colon cancer, so it is very important to schedule colon cancer screening tests beginning at age 50.
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There are different symptoms that are warning signs of colon problems. These warning signs can include blood or mucus in the stool or from the anus, a recent change in bowel habits (such as developing diarrhea or constipation), pain in the abdomen or rectum, fatigue, or unexplained weight loss.
The symptoms of rectal problems and be non-specific or even absent until the problem has progressed. The most common symptom however is bleeding, this can many times be mistaken for hemorrhoids but any instance of bleeding from the rectum should be evaluated by your health care provider. Excessive bleeding can lead to iron deficiency anemia wich can cause weakness and fatigue. Other symptoms could include diarrhea or constipation, changes in diameter of stool (it becomes ribbon-like). Abdominal pain and cramping can also be present. Any abnoral symptoms should be reported to your health care provider.
Grace H. Elta, Gastroenterology, answered on behalf of American Society for Gastrointestinal EndoscopyColorectal cancer is often present in people without symptoms, making prevention and screening for colorectal cancer very important. A polyp may be found and removed even before it becomes cancerous or presents with symptoms; once symptoms appear, a colonoscopy is performed to aid in diagnosis, rather than screen for disease. The following signs or symptoms, however, might indicate colorectal cancer:
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- blood in stools
- narrower than normal stools
- unexplained abdominal pain
- unexplained change in bowel habits
- unexplained anemia
- unexplained weight loss