- 15 min15 minutes
- Depends on ConsultDepends on Consult
- Location 1
Polyps are lumps of extra tissue growing inside the body. Polyps can grow in the large intestine (colon). Most colon polyps are noncancerous (benign). However, some colon polyps can become cancerous over time. Polyps that are larger than a pea may be harmful. To be safe, caregivers remove and test all polyps. CAUSES Polyps form when mutations in the genes cause your cells to grow and divide even though no more tissue is needed. RISK FACTORS There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of getting colon polyps. They include: • Being older than 50 years. • Family history of colon polyps or colon cancer. • Long-term colon diseases, such as colitis or Crohn disease. • Being overweight. • Smoking. • Being inactive. • Drinking too much alcohol. SYMPTOMS Most small polyps do not cause symptoms. If symptoms are present, they may include: • Blood in the stool. The stool may look dark red or black. • Constipation or diarrhea that lasts longer than 1 week. DIAGNOSIS People often do not know they have polyps until their caregiver finds them during a regular checkup. • Colonoscopy. The caregiver looks at the entire colon. This is the most common method for finding and removing polyps. TREATMENT Any polyps will be removed during a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. The polyps are then tested for cancer. TREATMENT Any polyps will be removed during a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. The polyps are then tested for cancer. PREVENTION To help lower your risk of getting more colon polyps: • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid eating fatty foods. • Do not smoke. • Avoid drinking alcohol. • Exercise every day. • Lose weight if recommended by your caregiver. • Eat plenty of calcium and folate. Foods that are rich in calcium include milk, cheese, and broccoli. Foods that are rich in folate include chickpeas, kidney beans, and spinach. HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS Keep all follow-up appointments as directed by your caregiver. You may need periodic exams to check for polyps. SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF: You notice bleeding during a bowel movement. This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider.