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What to know about the relationship between IBS and colon cancer

0 2 years ago

IBS is a chronic condition that causes abdominal pain and other symptoms. The condition affects the large intestine, also known as the colon.

Colon cancer affects the same area as IBS and can cause several of the same symptoms in some people.

This article reviews the similarities and differences between symptoms of IBS and colon cancer.

IBS symptoms

People living with IBS may experience one or more symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of IBS include:

  • abdominal pain, often related to bowel movements
  • changes in bowel movements, which can include constipation, diarrhoea, or possibly both

People assigned female at birth may also experience increased symptom severity around their period.

Other common symptoms of IBS can include:

  • whitish mucus in stool
  • feeling as though a bowel movement is not finished
  • bloating

Though IBS can be painful, it does not lead to other complications of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Colon cancer symptoms

Colon cancer often does not cause symptoms right away. It can take several years for symptoms to develop. The American Cancer Society

notes that several conditions could cause similar symptoms to colon cancer and should be ruled out during diagnosis.

It states that common symptoms of colon cancer can include:

  • abdominal pain or cramping
  • change in bowel habits, including a narrowing of the stool, diarrhoea, or constipation that lasts for more than just a few days
  • rectal bleeding bright red blood
  • dark brown or black blood in stool
  • feeling a need to pass a bowel movement without relief
  • unexplained weight loss
  • weakness or fatigue


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