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Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments for Colon Polyps

Colonic polyps are a precursor of colon cancer, the second deadliest type of cancer in the United States. These polyps, also known as colorectal polyps, are small growths that can be found on the colon’s surface and the rectum. Polyps form when cell division occurs at higher than normal rate. However, not all colorectal polyps develop into colorectal cancer, but due to the high likelihood that they will, they need to be removed by a gastroenterologist.

There are three types of colon polyps. They each vary by frequency and size. Adenomatous polyps can become cancerous. If this type of polyp is discovered via colonoscopy, it will be removed by your gastroenterologist. Malignant polyps are cancerous. Cancer cells in this type of polyp are visible. Hyperplastic polyps are benign and will likely not turn into cancerous polyps. Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms, causes, and treatment for colorectal polyps.

Symptoms of Colorectal Polyps

While many patients don’t have any symptoms, some signs can trigger red flags when it comes to colon polyps. Chronic polyps can be identified by:

  • Blood in stool
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain using the bathroom
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea


Causes of Colorectal Polyps

While colorectal polyps impact a patient that has no risk factors, there are a variety of conditions and scenarios that lead to the development of colon polyps. The screening guidelines for colorectal cancer have recently been lowered to 45 years from 50 years. However, with a family history, you may need to be seen sooner. Other factors that lead to colorectal polyps include:

  •  Type II Diabetes
  •  Smoking
  •  Obesity
  •  IBD
  •  Crohn’s Disease


Treatment for Colorectal Polyps

Treating, managing, and resolving some of the causes listed above can abate colorectal polyps. However, once developed, immediate removal is the most effective treatment for colon polyps. This can be performed during a routine colonoscopy.

If the polyps are overly developed and larger, they will need to be removed via surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is a less invasive option; it utilizes a laparoscope to remove larger polyps. Generally, colon polyps can be removed easily during a colonoscopy; this is referred to as a polypectomy. The most important thing to remember if you do have polyps removed is to follow up regularly with your gastroenterologist.
If you have any digestive issues, you should see your gastroenterologist.

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