Non-Specific – could be upper, lower digestive system, liver or pancreas
- Bloated sensation in the abdomen (a painful feeling of too much air inside)
- Distension or swelling of the abdomen (actual increase in girth)
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight (loss of appetite and weight, if unintended and significant, could indicate presence of an undiagnosed cancer)
- General un-wellness or lethargy (very non-specific symptom due to many serious illnesses)
- Pallor (pale skin and conjunctivae of eyes) due to anaemia (may be a symptom or sign of low level but chronic bleeding into the digestive tract)
- Chronic diarrhoea (may be due to, inter alia, malabsorption of nutrients in the small intestine or failure of processing faeces by the large intestine)
In addition, if there is a family history of some potentially genetically transmissible gastrointestinal disorders such as polyps or cancer of the stomach and colon, it may be beneficial for relatives to be screened. The closer the relationship and the younger the relative when diagnosed, the more important it is to be screened.
Abnormal results in health screening tests may require further investigations to check for gastrointestinal diseases.
These tests include:
- Positive faecal occult blood (microscopic blood found in the stools)
- Anaemia (lack of the red blood pigment haemoglobin)
- Abnormal levels of cancer markers in the blood
- Abnormal features on x-ray, barium or ultrasound examinations