What are Colon Polyps?

Colon polyps can be considered as the growth of cells on the lining of human colon (large intestine) and rectum. An individual can have one or more colon polyps. Normally they are harmless but if not cured in proper stages they can further develop into a colon cancer which can prove to be fatal over longer duration of time.

Colon polyp or colon polyps mainly occur in people having family background with the same disease or a person who has an inflammatory bowel disease.

What are Colon Polyps

Colon polyps normally do not show any kind of initial symptoms and so cannot be detected on normal basis. The only way to detect colon polyps is to carry out screening tests on regular basis.

What is a Polyp in the Colon?

Polyps in human colon are non-cancerous tumors which are involved in the lining of the large intestine. A polyp or polyps can form anywhere such as GI (gastrointestinal) tract but they usually grow in the human colon. The size of the colon polyps varies from an inch to various inches in diameter.

How Long is the Colon in the Human Body?

Large intestine (colon) is around 5 feet in length and has a diameter of 3 inches. The water is absorbed from the wastes with the help of colon, creating stool. The need to defecate will be created by the colon nerves when the stool enters the rectum.

What is a Tubular Adenoma of the Colon?

A tubular adenoma which is also known as adenomatous polyp is the most common type of colon polyp or colon polyps which occurs. Almost 70 percent of the colon polyp or colon polyps which are removed are the type tubular adenoma. If the tubular adenoma is not treated in time, it can grow larger and lead to cancer.

Can Colon Polyps Cause Cancer?

Many colon polyps are non- cancerous, but some types of colon polyp or colon polyps lead to cancer. There are two types of polyps: flat colon polyps and raised colon polyps. The flat colon polyp or colon polyps are harder to detect and there is a chance of them leading to cancer. The raised colon polyp or colon polyps are easier to locate and can be treated in time.

How to Detect Flat Polyps?

The colon polyp or colon polyps which are flat are considered most deadly ones and can be easily missed upon during the diagnosis process may be due to the colon which is not clean enough. Endoscopic mucosal resection which is a kind of very delicate technique is used to diagnose the flat colon polyp or colon polyps and remove them.

Can Colon Polyp Lead to Colorectal Cancer?

The 3rd famous reason for cancer deaths in U.S is colorectal cancer. These colorectal (colon or rectal polyps or both colon and rectal originated polyps) polyps crop up from the inside lining of the large intestine (colon) or they can also crop up at the end of the large intestine (rectum).

Regrettably, most of these colorectal cancers are 'quiet' tumors as they grow slowly and do not show any early indications until they become mature. The treatment is at its best only when these tumors are detected early.

How Common are Colon Polyps?

Colon polyp or colon polyps are extremely common. The possibility of developing a polyp increases as the person ages. If a person has a colon polyp, it is highly possible that they will have many more colon polyps developed in future. Most of the colon polyps do not become cancerous, but all the colon and rectal cancers or colorectal cancers are started from a single polyp. So it is advised to get regular checkups especially if you above 50 years of age.

What are the Different Types of Colon Polyps?

There are quite wide varieties of colon polyps faced by numerous people but the most common of them which are most prevalent are:

  • Adenomatous Colon Polyps: A wide range of people around the world are suffering from this kind of colon polyps. The great advantage of this polyp is only 1% of them develops into cancer.
  • Serrated Colon Polyps: Depending upon the size of growth of the polyp and its location serrated colon polyps can be turned into a cancerous part. Lower parts of the human colon develops small serrated colon polyps and they are not malignant, upper colon develops large serrated colon polyps and they can be precancerous.
  • Inflammatory Colon Polyps: Inflammatory colon polyps may follow crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis over a period of time and if these diseases are not treated properly, these inflammatory polyp or polyps can ultimately increase the risk of colon cancer.

What Can Cause Colon Polyps?

The colon cells of a person who is healthy grows and separate in an orderly manner. Some kind of gene mutations which can cause the cell division process to be altered and make them divide in an un orderly way and makes them divide even when their division is not at all required for replacement of new cells. This unregulated growth ultimately develops into what we call as the colon polyp or colon polyps.

Colon polyp or colon polyps can develop in any of the place in the larger intestine. It is a general trend that the larger the polyp the higher the chances to develop a cancer.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Colon Polyps?

Some of the people who have colon polyp or colon polyps are not bothered with any kind of signs and symptoms, so if a person feels well, still there are chances that he/ she might have developed colon polyps.

General signs and symptoms which are seen in colon polyps are:

  • Bleeding from a person's rectum. A person might notice blood over the toilet paper after wiping. This can also be the sign of tears that are minor in the anus or hemorrhoids.
  • Blood in Stool as a Sign or Symptoms of Colon Polyps. Blood makes a person's stool appear black or red streaks may appear over a person's stool. The other reasons include the change in food habits, medications, and supplements.
  • Change in Bowel Habits as a Symptom of Colon Polyps: A person might experience change in bowel habits and may have symptoms like diarrhea or constipation that may last more than seven days, they are the chances to indicate the sign of a large colon polyp. There are other conditions which can also cause changing in bowel habits.
  • Nausea, pain or vomiting as a Symptom of Colon Polyps: A huge polyp can obstruct bowel which leads to cramps that cause abdominal pain and nausea along with vomiting.
  • A person suffering from Colon Polyps might even feel tired because of anemia and face lack of iron in the body. Anal bleeding may lead to the lack of iron in body and causes anemia. Many times colon polyp or colon polyps can cause loss of a person's blood without even being visible in stool which can cause anemia.

You should immediately consult a physician if you experience any signs and symptoms:

  • Pain in the abdomen.
  • Passing of blood in the stool.
  • Change in the person's bowel habits which lasts more than a week.

Regular Screening Process for Colon Polyps

Regular screening process for checking the presence of colon polyps in people who are 50 years and above is recommended. Normally if a person is healthy and doesn't have any kind of prior health problems then the doctor will recommend the patient a regular screening process at an age of 50. Screening is a kind of testing process where a person will be examined about the possibility of the disease without even finding any kind of symptoms of the disease.

If a person are having some background for colon polyp or colon polyps then normally doctor will recommend a screening process at an early age, and sometimes a person might need to be tested more often based on a individual's vulnerability to the disease.

If a person is above 75 years of age then a person should consult a personal doctor to check up whether there is any need for screening.

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Last Modified On: December 29, 2015

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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