There are lots of common conditions that affect our bowels and bottoms and most of us are likely to suffer from one or other of them at some time in our lives. For example, changes of bowel habit, rectal bleeding (bleeding from the bottom), or tummy pains are commonplace and providing they go away within a few weeks, there is no need to worry. However, if symptoms persist beyond six weeks, its time to get things checked out by your GP.
We cannot stress enough, that the symptoms below are simply a guide and that if you have any doubts whatsoever about any condition, you should always seek professional medical advice.
Rectal Bleeding and Change Of Bowel Habit
Nearly 20 per cent of us experience rectal bleeding; it is more common among young people. A third of us suffer with constipation in any one year.
"It rarely turns out to be cancer"
However, it's important to know the higher risk symptoms and when to consult your doctor. If you have rectal bleeding, you should be referred for hospital investigation if you have any of these high risk symptoms:
No Rectal Bleeding?
- Rectal bleeding without any apparent cause
Piles are the main cause of rectal bleeding but piles have other symptoms like lumps, bumps, pain, sore bottom and itching. If you have bleeding from the back passage without any of these symptoms you should expect your doctor to give you a rectal examination (internal check with a gloved finger) and / or refer you for further investigations.
- Rectal bleeding among older people
Most people with bowel cancer are over the age of 60. People over 60 with rectal bleeding are more likely to need investigation as piles may be masking other more serious symptoms.
Other higher risk symptoms are:
Unexplained anaemia with or without tiredness
- A lump or mass in your tummy which can be felt by a doctor
- Recent and persistent colicky severe abdominal pain if you are in an older age group
- A persistent change in bowel habit going to the loo more often and trying to pass a motion, or continually having diarrhoea-like motions for more than a few weeks without a complete return to normal bowel action. If this is accompanied by rectal bleeding, this is an even clearer potential symptom.