Colon Polyps

About Colon Polyps

Colyn Polyps are growths that occur in the lining of the bowel. They can vary in size from less than a quarter of an inch to several inches in diameter.  Their cause is unknown. But some experts believe a high-fat, low-fiber diet can contribute to the likelihood of developing polyps. There may be a genetic risk to developing polyps as well.

There are two common types of polyps: hyperplastic, which is not a risk for cancer, and adenoma, which is thought to be the source for almost all colon cancers, although most adenomas never become cancerous.

Frequently Asked Questions about Colon Polyps

Q. What are the risks of developing polyps?
A. The biggest risk factor for developing polyps is being older than 50. A family history of Colon Polyps or colon cancer also increases the risk of polyps.  If you have had polyps or colon cancer, you are at greater risk of developing new polyps than someone who has not.

Q. What symptoms do polyps cause?
A. Usually none.  Larger ones can cause blood in the stool.

Q. So how do I know if I have them?
A. The best way to detect polyps is by screening individuals with no symptoms. There are several screening tests available, but the most accurate method is by colonoscopy, a thin, flexible, lighted scope that lets the physician visually inspect the colon.

Q. What if I do have them?
A. They can be removed during the colonoscopy.  Then they are examined under a microscope to determine what type they are and whether they are cancerous.

Q. Are there risks to polyp removal?
A. Polyp removal (or polypectomy) during a colonoscopy is a routine outpatient procedure. Possible but uncommon complications include bleeding from the removal site and perforation (a hole) in the colon, which only occurs approximately one in 1,000 procedures. Bleeding from the polypectomy site can be immediate or delayed for several days, but persistent bleeding can almost always be stopped by treatment during the procedure. Perforations usually require surgery to repair.

 

This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.