Everyone needs to have a colonoscopy from time to time. If the test is performed on people with no symptoms and no risk factors, it has been shown to decrease death due to colorectal cancer by up to 65 percent. However, the benefits of screening depend greatly upon an accurate diagnosis of what is wrong in the first place. Unfortunately, many people who develop obscure gastrointestinal complaints, such as bleeding or persistent abdominal pain, will undergo a colonoscopy and not be told what specific condition they may or may not have. A leading cause of this situation is the so-called "rule-out" list: before your procedure, you were told that there was a chance you had a particular disease during your colonoscopy. This guide highlights the signs that you need a colonoscopy screening:
1) Blood in the stool
The medical experts warn that blood in your stools is not normal, no matter what your age. While it can be a sign of hemorrhoids, fissures, or even ulcers, it is also one of the most common symptoms of colorectal cancer. That is why your doctor will likely recommend a colonoscopy screening to diagnose the problem.
2) Constant constipation
Constipation is when you are experiencing bowel movements less frequently than usual or have complete difficulty trying to relieve yourself. Constipation may indicate an obstruction in the intestinal tract, but if you are constantly constipated without any explanation - there could be something much more serious going on with your intestines.
3) Frequent cramping
Constipation is often accompanied by cramping, bloating, or abdominal pain. However, if you are experiencing these symptoms more often than not, there could be something more serious going on with your intestines. Again, this is another reason your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy to check for cancerous cells.
Hemorrhoids are varicose veins that occur in the lower portion of the rectum and anus. They are common during pregnancy because of an increase in pressure due to the growing fetus. If you have hemorrhoids, they will worsen without treatment, primarily if you don't address their root cause (which can be severe). However, hemorrhoids can also be a sign of colorectal cancer.
5) Fecal incontinence
Fecal incontinence is defined as the uncontrolled passing of gas or stool. If you find that you frequently lose control over your bowel movements, this could indicate that there are issues with your lower intestines. That usually stems from nerve damage that can be caused by cancerous cells in the colon or rectum.
6) Unintentional weight loss
Unintentional weight loss is when you lose more than 10 pounds without trying - especially if it comes suddenly and frequently happens to otherwise healthy people (no illness). Also known as cachexia, this symptom may indicate another medical issue but can also signal colorectal cancer.
7) Rectal bleeding
Rectal bleeding is relatively apparent - you're bleeding from your anus (not your period), and it's often accompanied by other symptoms such as constipation, cramping, pain, or unintentional weight loss. Rectal bleeding is never normal - mainly if it occurs without explanation. Early rectal cancers may cause this symptom, making sense because the tumor can be located near the area where the blood comes out of your body. If you experience any of these symptoms regularly, do not hesitate to set up a colonoscopy screening to diagnose and treat any issues with your intestines.