Investigation of weight loss

There may be a variety of causes for unexpected weight loss including psychological and dietary factors. However, weight loss in association with any other gastrointestinal symptom is of concern and requires investigation.

Investigations should initially include:

  • A full dietary history
  • Blood tests

Further investigations may be directed towards the predominant symptoms. Weight loss and:

  • Symptoms such as heartburn or difficulty in swallowing may require an endoscopy (OGD)
  • Symptoms such as change in bowel habit or rectal bleeding may need a colonoscopy

Many causes of weight loss are not related to the gastrointestinal tract, so patients with no particular abdominal symptoms may still require investigation with a chest x-ray, and an ultrasound or CT scan.

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