If you have a concern about your bowels you should discuss this with your GP without delay.
Being bowel aware
Being bowel aware is about knowing what is normal for you.
If changes occur in your bowel habits, lasting four to six weeks or more, contact your GP to discuss.
It is good to remember that not all bowel symptoms are bowel cancer although it is worth getting symptoms checked as catching cancer early will improve the treatment options and individual outcomes.
You should be aware of bowel symptoms such as:
- persistent change in bowel habit especially going to the toilet more often or diarrhoea for four to six weeks
- bleeding from the bottom without any obvious reason
- blood or mucus in your poo
- abdominal pain especially if it is severe
- a lump in your abdomen
- unexplained weight loss
- feeling tired for no obvious reason
If you have one or more of these symptoms for four to six weeks you should visit your GP.
Visiting your GP
When visiting your GP it is important to not be embarrassed, GP’s deal with many similar concerns each week. It is good to remember that not all bowel symptoms are bowel cancer although it is worth getting symptoms checked as catching any cancer early will improve the treatment options and individual outcomes.
Before your visit
Before your visit it might be useful to note down any changes in bowel habit you have noticed and keep a diary of symptoms. You might also find it helpful to write a list of questions you wish to ask and take a notepad so you can take notes.
Questions your GP may ask
Your GP may ask questions about the symptoms you may have, they may also ask about any recent changes in lifestyle, relevant medical history and any family history of bowel cancer.
From your consultation, your GP will advise you regarding the best actions to take depending on your personal circumstances.