According to The American Cancer Society a diagnostic colonoscopy is usually performed when a patient’s symptoms or tests indicate there may be signs of problems in the colon. Patients are referred for a diagnostic colonoscopy because they have the following symptoms:
- Blood in the stool
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Unexplained anemia (a condition in which your blood has a lower than normal number of red blood cells)
- Change in bowel habits
- Persistent abdominal pain
In addition your doctor may recommend a diagnostic colonoscopy if screening tests such as a manual rectal examination, a hemoccult test (to detect the presence of hidden blood in the stool), or a barium enema test (barium is used to make the colon visible to x-rays) suggests that additional information is needed to determine the cause of the problem.