Colon (Colorectal) Polyps- Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment


What are Colon Polyps?

A small lump beneath the lining of the colon or primarily growth of the inner lining of the colon is deemed as a colon polyp. Though a majority of the cases encountering a polyp face no harm, yet if left unattended or noticed in later stages build up to form a colon cancer. Non-neoplastic and neoplastic are the two variants where former is non-cancerous, and the latter involves risk.

Causes of Colon Polyps

Though there is no rule as to who develops a colon polyp, however people above 50 years of age, overweight or a chain smoker have a greater risk of the underlying disease. Generally, healthy cells in the human body grow in a desired amount and divide itself. Buy if a mutation occurs, then the cell growth is unregulated. This leads to rising in some unwanted cells, thereby leading to a polyp.

As long as the body generates cells in the desired amount, everything is fine, but if the cells start growing without the need, it leads to the colorectal polyp.

Risk Factors for Colon Polyps

It’s true that there are no certified causes of the disease, yet few factors that boost the formation of the disease include:

  1. Age: One of the most important factors that contribute to the growth of poly is age. People aged 50 or more are at higher risk of developing a colon polyp.
  2. Family Background: If anyone in your family your parent or child or a sibling has this, then your chance to have a polyp drastically increases. If multiple people have it, then the chances are far beyond expectations, and yes it is not always hereditary.
  3. Inflammatory Condition Of Intestine: Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis.
  4. Alcohol consumption or tobacco intake.
  5. Obesity or less physical activity.
  6. Type 2 Diabetes: If left uncontrolled.
  7. Race: Africans and Americans have a greater risk of colon cancer.

Symptoms of Colon Polyps

It is however not easy to know when do you have a polyp. Until and unless your doctor examines you, it is hard to predict a polyp. However, if you notice irregular bowel movements, then you should seek medical advice.

Few Common Factors Include:

  • Rectal Bleeding: An alarming sign of cancer, polyp, or a serious condition such as tears in anus or haemorrhoids.
  • Stool Color Changes: Either your stool turns black, or you notice red color streak signifying blood in your stool. Several foods, medications or supplements often lead to a stool color change.
  • Pain: If you notice pain in the lower part of your abdomen, then this might indicate the presence of a large colon polyp.
  • Altered Bowel Habits: Suddenly, your digestive system is messy. Unexpected diarrhoea or constipation that show no signs of being curable often suggest that you need medical aid.
  • Anemia: It might so happen that you have a polyp bleeding but do not notice is for long. This is a slow process and takes time. In a few cases, internal bleeding wipes off iron from the body necessary for the production of elements that allow transfer of oxygen via RBCs. This often accounts for anemia which can be interpreted if you have breath shortness and feel extremely tired.
  • Weakness: Fainting, pale skin, lightheadedness, or faster heartbeat.

Diagnosis of Colon Polyps

Only screening test aid detection of a polyp before they turn dangerous. The below-stated test is capable of detecting colorectal cancer at early stages and has a higher probability of being cured or fully recovering from it.

Several methods induced for diagnosis include

1. Colonoscopy:

One of the best methods to diagnose a colon polyp or colon cancer is performing a colonoscopy. The test involves scanning your rectum to seek the presence of unwanted cells. If the doctor notices something unusual, he might cut the lump at the moment to take samples and opt further for a biopsy. This affirms whether the cells are cancerous or not.

2. Virtual Colonoscopy ( CT Colonography):

A small test that indices CT scan of the rectum to have a wider view of the colon. Bowel preparation for CT scan is similar to the one required for colonoscopy. In case a polyp is detected, doctors might go for a colonoscopy to remove the same. The image as obtained after the scan can be viewed in both 2d, as well as a 3D view.

3. Flexible Sigmoidoscopy:

Another significant way to diagnose a colon polyp is to introduce a slender which is a lightweight tube inside your rectum for the examination along with the study of last third colon named sigmoid and rectum. Here also, if a polyp is detected, surgeons go for a colonoscopy to remove the lump.

4. Test-Based On Stool:

This is a preliminary phase test. This indicates the blood present in the stool of the person or a way to assess DNA of your stool. In case the test comes out to be positive, the doctor with advise you to opt for a colonoscopy.

5. Barium Enema:

Another way used by several doctors is the introduction of liquid barium inside the rectum. Images scanned and viewed using special x-ray. The major advantage of using barium is that it makes images clear and white. Because Polyps are dark, it becomes difficult to identify them in a darker background. Hence barium turns the image white, and you can easily trace the polyp.

Many times, the first test might not stand by your symptoms. Hence it is advisable to opt for a second colonoscopy after three months.

Treatment of Colon Polyps

The only treatment of a colon polyp is its removal. Doctors cut the section of the colon that has the polyp associated with it. Polyps can be removed via an endoscope. These are further viewed under a microscope. This is imperative as it is desirable to have an idea of whether or not the cells are cancerous. To be safe, doctors examine the polyp to affirm that no cells are malignant or possess characteristics similar to a cancer cell.

Results obtained after a screening of both colonoscopy and history check are examined to see whether the same need further screening. In case, the cells turn out to be cancerous, they need to be also monitored to find the stage and how deep has the cells turned malignant. After, this the doctor may go for an operation to remove all the cancerous cells. No matter how deep they are, they need to be weaned off from the body.

If the doctor suspects a Genetic mutation by a biopsy, then their relatives are also advised to undergo a screening test. It is recommended that patients with colon cancer have their polyp removed as early as possible to deter the rise of cancer.

Laparoscopic Surgery is done to remove the polyp effectively. A long tube is inserted in the rectum through an incision. The tube has a camera at the other end. The doctor can have a clearer vision of the colon. Once then

doctor seeks the polyp, he will remove it using a dedicated tool.

Medications for Colon Polyps

Once your doctor is sure about the presence if the polyp, he is most likely to remove it. Irrespective of the fact that you have had or had not an operation to remove the polyp, there are certain instructions you should take care of is to deter the flaring of the polyp if present.

The above advice being intake if healthy foods. If you induce a healthy schedule in your diet, you are more likely to lose weight and gain immune. Healthy habits of eating deter the rise of colon cancer. Few examples include:

  • Induce a diet that has more fruits, vegetables, foods rich in fibre as lentils, peas, beans and cereal with high fibre.
  • Get back in shape and get rid of obesity.
  • Refrain yourself from foods such as red meat, or processed meats.
  • Supplements of calcium and vitamin D suppress the effect of colon cancer
  • If you have a family history, then ask the doctor when do you need to go for a screening.

Several Medication Include:

  • Multivitamin or Vitamin D Supplement: It is a proven fact that people with a vitamin intake have less risk of exposure to colon cancer as compared to the one who doesn’t take a thump.
  • Quit smoking as early as possible.
  • Aspirin is an excellent medicine where the chances of having colon cancer are 45% all happen out. Though it lowers the risk of colon cancer, yet the medicine has a different dose, and so higher take could aggravate issues apart from the one happening now.
  • Women who undertake hormones after the end of the menstrual cycle are at reduced risk of colon cancer as compared to the ones who do not have the same.

Since the risk boosts after fifty, it is after advisable that their people go for a routine check-up once in three months to stay safe. Also, if you have a family background, then you must opt for a routine examination after you reach puberty. Though the disease is not common and the chance of a cancerous polyp is far less, it is imperative to seek medical advice if you notice any of the symptoms stated above.

Sagar Papneja

For me, health is about sustainable living and consuming environmentally conscious food; I am a vegan.

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