What is the symptoms of colon problem?
Symptoms & Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are pain in your abdomen, often related to your bowel movements, and changes in your bowel movements. These changes may be diarrhea, constipation, or both, depending on what type of IBS you have.
Other symptoms of IBS may include
- the feeling that you haven’t finished a bowel movement
- whitish mucus in your stool
Women with IBS often have more symptoms during their periods.
IBS can be painful but doesn’t lead to other health problems or damage your digestive tract.
To diagnose IBS, you doctor will look for a certain pattern in your symptoms over time. IBS is a chronic disorder, meaning it lasts a long time, often years. However, the symptoms may come and go.
What causes IBS?
Doctors aren’t sure what causes IBS. Experts think that a combination of problems may lead to IBS. Different factors may cause IBS in different people.
Functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as IBS are problems with brain-gut interaction—how your brain and gut work together. Experts think that problems with brain-gut interaction may affect how your body works and cause IBS symptoms. For example, in some people with IBS, food may move too slowly or too quickly through the digestive tract, causing changes in bowel movements. Some people with IBS may feel pain when a normal amount of gas or stool is in the gut.
Certain problems are more common in people with IBS. Experts think these problems may play a role in causing IBS. These problems include
- stressful or difficult early life events, such as physical or sexual abuse
- certain mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and somatic symptom disorder
- bacterial infections in your digestive tract
- small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, an increase in the number or a change in the type of bacteria in your small intestine
- food intolerances or sensitivities, in which certain foods cause digestive symptoms
Research suggests that genes may make some people more likely to develop IBS.
Last Reviewed November 2017
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Previous: Definition & Facts
This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.
The NIDDK would like to thank:
Lin Chang, M.D., David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles
5 Colon Cancer Symptoms that are Easy to Overlook
Colon and rectal cancer, together known as colorectal cancers, are the third most common type of cancer in men and women, resulting in nearly 50,000 deaths per year. Colon cancer is more common than people might think, which can cause the warning signs to be overlooked. The signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer depend on the location of the cancer, how advanced it is and how it affects the organs and tissue. One sign or symptom alone may not be enough to determine the cause, but if several symptoms are present, a doctor can get a better idea of the potential cause.
At times, symptoms of colorectal cancer may not show up until the cancer has advanced. Because symptoms can go unnoticed during the early stages of the disease, guidelines recommend colon cancer screenings begin at age 50. Statistics show that regular screenings could prevent over 60 percent of deaths from colon cancer .
1. Unexplained Weight Loss
Sudden weight loss is often a symptom of several types of cancer, including colon cancer. Unintentional weight loss is the loss of 10 pounds or more in six months or less without knowing the reason. Colorectal cancer can lead to unexplained weight loss in a variety of ways. Cancer cells use up a lot of the body’s energy supply, and the immune system also uses energy as it works hard to fight the disease. Cancer cells can release substances into the body that change the way food is converted to energy, which can cause weight loss.
Additionally, if a tumor in the colon gets large enough, it could block the colon. This blockage can affect a person’s bowel habits, which can then lead to unexplained weight loss.
2. Fatigue and Weakness
It can be easy to confuse fatigue with simply being tired. Between work and personal obligations, everyone can feel run down at times. If the exhaustion does not go away with rest, it could be fatigue. In addition to colorectal cancer, fatigue and weakness could also be symptoms of diabetes, anemia and heart disease.
Similar to unexplained weight loss, cancer cells can cause fatigue as they use up the body’s energy. Sometimes colon cancer can cause fatigue due to internal blood loss from the disease.
In many cases, the symptoms of colon cancer are connected. Other colon cancer symptoms, such as unintentional weight loss and a change in bowel habits, can increase the feeling of weakness.
Fatigue is typically a symptom of an underlying condition. Fatigue is a constant state of weakness and exhaustion with no apparent cause. If you feel what could be fatigue, it’s important to visit your doctor to determine the cause.
3. Abdominal Cramps
Many people have abdominal pain at some point in their lives, and like many symptoms, it can seem minor. It is a common symptom of noncancerous conditions, such as hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome. However, abdominal pain that began recently and is severe and long-lasting can be a sign of cancer.
Colon cancer occurs in the large intestine, which can affect bowel habits. This change in bowel habits can lead to cramping, bloating and abdominal pain and could be an indicator of colon cancer.
4. Blood in Stool
A warning sign for colon or rectal cancer is blood in the stool. Sometimes you may notice bright red spots, and other times it may not be visible to the naked eye. The severity of symptoms depends on the advancement and location of the disease.
Stool could also appear very dark or black, signifying the presence of dried blood. If you see any sign of blood in your stool, you should consult your doctor. A fecal occult test can detect whether there is blood in the stool, and additional examinations can help your doctor determine the source of the blood and the proper course of treatment.
Rectal bleeding usually comes from bleeding in the lower colon or rectum and is a common symptom of colorectal cancer. Bright red blood on the toilet paper after a bowel movement or red or pink water in the toilet bowl can be signs of rectal bleeding. People often attribute rectal bleeding to hemorrhoids, which can prevent an early cancer diagnosis.
Anyone experiencing bleeding from the rectum should see a doctor immediately. If you are over 40, a physician will likely recommend tests such as a colonoscopy to rule out cancer.
5. Change in Bowel Habits
A colon polyp, a small clump of cells on the lining of the colon, can develop into cancer over time. Once the polyp turns into cancer, the slow growth of the tumor often affects bowel habits, which can produce symptoms. If you’ve noticed your stool becoming thinner or a change in the frequency of bowel movements, it could be a sign of colorectal cancer.
Change in Stool Consistency
Colon cancer can hinder the large intestine’s ability to perform its usual tasks, like ridding the body of waste and absorbing water and nutrients. Drastic changes in the consistency of stool can be an early sign that something isn’t quite right. Loose, watery stools, diarrhea or constipation unrelated to another condition can be a symptom of the disease.
Be Proactive About Your Health
Like all cancers, treatment is the most successful when colorectal cancer is caught in its early stage. Fortunately, colon cancer rates have dropped over the last ten years due to the rise in colonoscopies and colon cancer screenings. In addition to regular screenings, recognizing the common signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer can save your life.
Many of these symptoms can be overlooked, but they may be a sign of a dangerous condition. Detecting cancer in its early stages could save your life, so it’s important to be prepared to recognize signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer. If you’re experiencing symptoms or want to learn more about your personal risk for colorectal cancer, find a doctor in your area today.
Bowel Problems, Conditions & Symptoms
The first and most important point to remember is that everyone with a bowel problem can be helped and many can be completely cured.
If you have been diagnosed with bowel (faecal) incontinence, IBS, Colitis, Crohns, constipation or other bowel problems you can search the down menus below to find out more information about your specific condition or problem. If you have not been diagnosed by a health professional, the following questions about your symptoms should help you find the information you are looking for.
- Do you find it difficult to have a bowel movement or have a bowel movement less than 3 times a week and have to strain
- Excessively or do not feel completely empty? You may be constipated.
- Do you pass watery or very loose stools more than 3 times in a day? You may have diarrhoea.
- Do you have abdominal pain (in the lower left part of the abdomen) and a change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhoea or alternating between both), with a mild fever and nausea and vomiting? These are symptoms of diverticular disease.
- If you have diarrhoea, weight loss and abdominal pain, these could be signs of Crohn’s Disease.
- Do you have bloody diarrhoea or diarrhoea containing mucus and the constant urge to go to the toilet even though nothing comes out, with or without abdominal pain? These are symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis.
- Do you leak faeces without being aware of it? This could be bowel or faecal incontinence.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you must see your GP as soon as possible:
- bleeding from your back passage
- blood in your stools (faeces), which can make them look bright red, dark red, or black
- a change in normal bowel habits lasting three weeks or more
- unexplained weight loss and tiredness
- an unexplained pain or lump in your tummy
Once you have a clearer idea of what your problem may be or if you have been diagnosed you can visit our treatment section to see what your options are for managing your symptoms or condition. Information dealing with the more practical and emotional side of coping with bowel problems can be found by visiting the support section.
How to approach your GP about your bowel problems
It is never too late to get help with your bowel problems. If you would like some advice on how to approach your GP regarding your bowel problem you may find our Advice Sheet helpful. It also includes information on tests that your GP may recommend you have done. To download, please click on this link Bowel Advice Sheet.
If you are looking for information about Stoma’s then you can visit our Stoma Care section which contains a host of information including:
- What is a stoma
- Stoma products
- Diet and Exercise
- What to expect before stoma surgery
- Stoma Complications
- Role of a Stoma Nurse
- How to change a Stoma bag
- Stoma Reversal
- Travelling with a Stoma
- Irrigation and your Stoma
- Stoma skincare
Just Can’t Wait Card
A small convenient and well recognised card that greatly improves your ability to gain access to toilet facilities in all sorts of locations. You can request your FREE Just Can’t Wait Card here.
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Bowel Problems in Childhood
Bowel problems are not limited to adults and are definitely not just part of getting older – children can experience them too. Some children will be born with bowel conditions while others can develop them as they start to grow. In this…