Several tests are available to diagnose or look for problems of the rectum or colon. The choice of which and how many tests to perform depends on your history of problems and current symptoms. You may have already had some or all of these tests, and some of these alternatives may not apply to your particular situation.
These tests include:
• A rectal exam
• Testing stool for blood
• Having blood tests
• An abdominal x-ray
• A barium enema
• Flexible sigmoidoscopy or anoscopy.
These alternatives to colonoscopy can give general information about problems within the lower digestive tract, but they do not give in-depth information that a colonoscopy provides. Colonoscopy allows your doctor to directly look at and treat some of the structures that may be causing your problem.
If you have any questions about your particular situation, you should discuss these different alternative methods with your doctor. Together, you can decide which ones, if any, are appropriate for you.