Bowel Conditions and Symptoms

The first and most important point to remember is that everyone with a bowel problem can be helped and many can be completely cured.

If you have been diagnosed with bowel (faecal) incontinence, IBS, Colitis, Crohns, constipation or other bowel problems you can search the down menus below to find out more information about your specific condition or problem. If you have not been diagnosed by a health professional, the following questions about your symptoms should help you find the information you are looking for.

  • Do you find it difficult to have a bowel movement or have a bowel movement less than 3 times a week and have to strain
  • Excessively or do not feel completely empty? You may be constipated.
  • Do you pass watery or very loose stools more than 3 times in a day? You may have diarrhoea.
  • Do you have abdominal pain (in the lower left part of the abdomen) and a change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhoea or alternating between both), with a mild fever and nausea and vomiting? These are symptoms of diverticular disease.
  • If you have diarrhoea, weight loss and abdominal pain, these could be signs of Crohn’s Disease.
  • Do you have bloody diarrhoea or diarrhoea containing mucus and the constant urge to go to the toilet even though nothing comes out, with or without abdominal pain? These are symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis.
  • Do you leak faeces without being aware of it? This could be bowel or faecal incontinence.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you must see your GP as soon as possible:

  • bleeding from your back passage
  • blood in your stools (faeces), which can make them look bright red, dark red, or black
  • a change in normal bowel habits lasting three weeks or more
  • unexplained weight loss and tiredness
  • an unexplained pain or lump in your tummy

Once you have a clearer idea of what your problem may be or if you have been diagnosed you can visit our treatment and product sections to see what your options are for managing your symptoms or condition. Information dealing with the more practical and emotional side of coping with bowel problems can be found by visiting the Support and Advice section.

How to approach your GP about your bowel problems

It is never too late to get help with your bowel problems. If you would like some advice on how to approach your GP regarding your bowel problem you may find our Advice Sheet helpful. It also includes information on tests that your GP may recommend you have done. To download, please click on this link Bowel Advice Sheet.

Further Help and Advice

You can also obtain the Radar key which is part of the National Key Scheme.


All the information provided by B&BC is intended as a general guide only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own GP or any other health professional. We therefore recommend that you make an appointment with your GP or other health professional for a medical assessment and diagnosis.