Common Colorectal Symptoms


Rectal Bleeding

Rectal bleeding is a common symptom. It can be fresh or dark red. Fresh red bleeding typically arises from the left colon, rectum or in and around the back passage (anus). The commonest causes are haemorrhoids (piles) or anal fissures (tears) but may be caused by bowel cancer or benign polyps, hence further investigation of this symptom is recommended.

Diarrhoea and Constipation

These are common symptoms and importantly are very individual. As the terms can be vague it is helpful to describe them in terms of changes in frequency of bowel opening or changes in the consistency of the stool.

Persistent diarrhoea can be caused by a number of different conditions including bowel cancer and so it should be investigated further. Constipation may be due to dietary factors such as insufficient fluid intake and less commonly can be caused by bowel cancer.


Perianal Sepsis

An abscess may develop in and around the back passage and this may require surgical drainage. Sometimes an underlying cause for an abscess is a fistula. This is an abnormal communication between the inside and the skin around the anus. This condition can be treated and a referral to a Colorectal Specialist would be recommended.


Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is common and is usually self-limiting. The causes are numerous and occasionally may require surgical intervention.