Thank you for visiting Richmond University Medical Center.  View our VISITOR POLICY

Home » News » Digestive Symptoms That Might Be a Sign to Schedule a Colonoscopy

Digestive Symptoms That Might Be a Sign to Schedule a Colonoscopy

September 9, 2022
Young Woman Laying On Couch Holding Stomach

A colonoscopy is an essential procedure, in which a scope is used to look inside the rectum and colon. This helps to locate irritated areas, detect cancer, and find the cause of digestive symptoms. The board-certified gastroenterologists at the Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island, New York, evaluate each patient and provide high-quality healthcare services and treatment, including colonoscopies. Learn more about digestive symptoms that may be a sign to get a colonoscopy. 

Changes in Bowel Habits 

One of the most important digestive symptoms, which may indicate the need for a colonoscopy, is changes in bowel habits. This can be anything different than normal for the patient, including: 

  • Chronic constipation
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Narrow stools
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Feeling the bowel is not emptying properly 

If a person experiences these symptoms for a short period, it could be due to a stomach bug, flu, or food reaction. However, if these bowel changes are happening consistently, the patient should contact their physician. A colonoscopy may be scheduled to examine the lining of the large intestine and determine if the problems are being created by something more serious, such as Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis, or bowel cancer. Search Richmond University Medical Center’s Health Library to learn more about these changes and when they should be cause for concern. 

Abdominal Cramps and Pain 

Cramping and pain in the abdomen can be troublesome, but shouldn’t be a cause for worry unless they are persistent and distracting from daily life. In more serious cases, abdominal pain and cramping can be caused by irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, bowel blockages, cancer, gastroesophageal reflux, and more. That is why it’s necessary for patients to get their intestines examined via a colonoscopy, allowing them to gain further insight into what might be causing this symptom. 

Rectal Bleeding or Bloody Stools 

Another main sign to get a colonoscopy scheduled is noticing rectal bleeding or bloody stools frequently. Seeing blood in that area can be alarming, and it is important to get it checked out by a physician, as it can be caused by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcers, and cancer. If a patient has hemorrhoids or anal fissures, this may cause bleeding that is less concerning. However, if there is no known reason for blood in the stool, it should be checked out by a doctor with a colonoscopy. 


Bloating is common, and it can be a normal reaction to food or drinks. However, if a patient experiences chronic bloating that does not seem to go away, they should consider a colonoscopy to rule out Crohn’s disease, cancer, diverticulosis, or other stomach problems. 

Non-Digestive Symptoms 

Digestive symptoms are the main reason patients typically schedule a colonoscopy, but there are also important non-digestive symptoms that patients should pay attention to. These are: 

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness 

If a patient experiences one or more of these non-digestive symptoms in conjunction with other digestive signs above, they should consult with a physician at Richmond University Medical Center to seek a colonoscopy and rule out further problems. 

Contact Richmond University Medical Center for a Colonoscopy Appointment Today 

Many digestive symptoms indicate less serious issues, but they can be a cause for concern when they are chronic, painful, or limiting. These symptoms can be a sign to request a colonoscopy procedure to gain further insight and a diagnosis. Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island, NY, is committed to helping each of its patients with high-quality care in an environment that promotes their satisfaction and healing. Contact Richmond University Medical Center today for questions or to schedule a colonoscopy appointment.