Gastrointestinal Disorder Summary

Many diseases of the colon and rectum can be prevented or minimized by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, practicing good bowel habits, and submitting to cancer screening.

If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, you should have a colonoscopy beginning at age 40, or 10 years younger than your youngest family member with cancer. (For example, if your brother was diagnosed with colorectal cancer or polyps at age 45, you should begin screening at age 35).

If you have no family history of colorectal cancer and no personal history of other cancers, you should have a colonoscopy at age 50.

If you have symptoms of colorectal cancer you should consult your doctor right away. Common symptoms include:

  • A change in normal bowel habits
  • Blood on or in the stool that is either bright or dark
  • Unusual abdominal or gas pains
  • Very narrow stool
  • A feeling that the bowel has not emptied completely after passing stool
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue

Conditions We Treat