A colon polyp, also called a colonic polyp or a colorectal polyp, is a small, benign growth that forms on the lining of the colon.
While most colon polyps are harmless, some may develop into cancer. The majority of colon polyps are adenomatous polyps, which are made up of glandular cells.
Polyps can occur in many locations in the body, including ears, nose, uterus or throat.
Other types of colon polyps include inflammatory polyps, hamartomatous polyps, and hyperplastic polyps.
Colon polyps can be found during a colonoscopy, a procedure in which a long, flexible tube is inserted into the rectum and passed through the entire length of the colon.
During a colonoscopy, the doctor may do a removal of a colon polyp.
In this article we will discuss more on the symptoms of colon polyps, causes and diagnosis.
Colon Polyp Types
There are three main types of colon polyps: adenomatous, hyperplastic, and inflammatory. Each type has different characteristics and may pose different risks for cancer.
Adenomatous polyps are the most common type of colon polyp and are generally considered to be premalignant.
Hyperplastic polyps are the least likely to become cancerous. Inflammatory polyps are a type of polyp that can be caused by inflammation in the colon.
Symptoms of Colon Polyps
Polyps are more commonly found in the rectum and sigmoid colon. However, they may be found anywhere in the large intestine.
Symptoms of colon polyps include:
- Bleeding from the rectum after a bowel movement
- Blood in the stool
- Change in stool color
- Constipation lasting
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor so they can determine whether or not you have colon polyps.
What Causes Colon Polyps?
Colon polyps are very common. Most people have them and don’t even know it.
The exact cause of colon polyps is unknown. However, there are some risk factors that may increase your chance of developing them.
- Family history of colon polyps or colorectal cancer
- If you are over the age of 45
- Excessive alcohol
- Being overweight
- Lack of exercise
- Personal history of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
Diagnosis of Colon Polyps
Colon polyps are typically diagnosed during a colonoscopy, which is a procedure where a doctor inserts a long, thin tube with a camera attached into the rectum and colon.
During the procedure, the doctor will remove any polyps that are found. It is important to get regular colonoscopies, as they can help to detect colon polyps early, before they have a chance to turn into cancer.
If you have any family history of colon cancer, or if you are over the age of 50, it is important for you to have regular cancer screenings as prevention or early detection which may save your life.
There are several screening tests that can be used to detect polyps or colorectal cancer, including stool tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and virtual colonoscopy.
Stool DNA testing is intended to screen for colon cancer or precancerous polyps in people with no symptoms. The stool DNA test detects abnormal DNA and small amounts of blood shed into the stool from colon cancer or colon polyps.
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a thin, flexible tube that is inserted through the rectum to examine the last third of the large intestine (sigmoid colon) for polyps or cancer.
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure used to visualize the inside of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.
A colonoscopy is performed using a colonoscope, a long, flexible, lighted tube. The colonoscope is inserted through the rectum into the colon to examine the inside of the colon for abnormal growths, inflammation, ulcers, bleeding, or other problems.
Virtual colonoscopy is a cutting-edge technology that allows doctors to get a clear view of the inside of the colon without having to go through the traditional, invasive colonoscopy procedure.
This technology is revolutionizing the way colon cancer is detected and treated.
Treatment Options for Colon Polyps
There are several treatment options for colon polyps, which are growths on the lining of the colon or rectum.
Treatment may be recommended if a polyp is large, if there are multiple polyps, or if a polyp is precancerous.
Treatment options include polypectomy, which is removal of the polyp during a colonoscopy, and ablation, which is destruction of the polyp. Surgery may also be an option.
Although virtual colonoscopy is a useful tool for visualizing the entire colon, it does not provide the same level of detail as colonoscopy.
Colonoscopy is the only procedure that enables both visualization and removal of polyps, making it the gold standard for diagnosing and treating potential problems in the colon.
There are many different risk factors for colon polyps, and it is important to be aware of them.
Age is the most important risk factor, with the majority of colon polyps occurring in people over the age of 50.
Other risk factors include a family history of colon polyps or colorectal cancer, a personal history of colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and certain genetic syndromes.
Some lifestyle factors may also increase the risk of colon polyps, such as smoking, obesity, and a diet high in fat and red meat.
If you have any of these risk factors, it is important to talk to your doctor about how to best reduce your risk.
Can Colon Polyps Be Prevented?
Prevention of colon polyps is important because they can develop into cancer. There are many things you can do to lower your risk.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for many reasons, including reducing the risk of developing colon polyps.
While colon polyps are not always cancerous, they can be a precursor to cancer.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help prevent the development of colon polyps:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Avoiding smoking are all good ways to reduce your risk
- Maintain a healthy weight
If you have a family history of colon cancer, you may need to be extra careful and get screened more often.
Talk to your doctor about what is right for you.
Why Colon Cancer Screening is Important
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, yet it is one of the most preventable cancers.
Screening tests can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk for colon cancer start regular screening at age 50.
People with a family history of colon cancer or other conditions that increase the risk should start screening earlier.
Screening for colon cancer can help prevent these deaths by finding cancer early, when it is most likely to be curable.
Contact Dr. Schneider
In conclusion, it is important to understand the risks and causes of colon polyps in order to take steps to prevent them.
While some polyps are benign, others can develop into cancer.
Anyone can get colon polyps, but there are certain risk factors that increase your chances of developing them.
These include age, family history, smoking, and certain medical conditions. If you have any of these risk factors, it’s important to talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk.
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.