Colorectal Polyps

What Are Colorectal Polyps?

Colorectal polyps are growths on the inner wall of the colon or rectum. The vast majority are benign (non-cancerous) and do not cause symptoms. Polyps can range from very small to very large and vary in shape and color.

Their exact cause is unknown, but the risk of developing them increases with age and is higher in certain conditions, such as ulcerative colitis. Polyps can increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer over time, so it is important for them to be detected and removed if necessary.

Types of Colorectal Polyps

There are several common types of colorectal polyps. These include:

  • Adenomatous polyps (adenomas): These polyps are the most common type and can develop into cancer over time.
  • Serrated polyps: These polyps are less common and can also develop into cancer.
  • Hyperplastic polyps: These are not linked to cancer and generally do not require any treatment.
  • Inflammatory polyps: These are linked to conditions such as Crohn’s disease and can cause symptoms.

Symptoms of Colorectal Polyps

Most colorectal polyps do not cause symptoms. However, if they are large or if there are many of them, they can causee:

  • abdominal pain
  • blood in your stool
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • changes in bowel habits

Diagnosis of Colorectal Polyps

If you have symptoms of colorectal polyps, your doctor can diagnose them with a physical exam and various tests, such as a colonoscopy. During a colonoscopy, a doctor can look inside your colon or rectum and remove suspicious polyps.

Treatment of Colorectal Polyps

If colorectal polyps are small and do not cause symptoms, they may not need to be treated. However, if polyps are large or cause symptoms, they may need to be surgically removed. This is usually done during a colonoscopy. After removal, the polyps can be checked for cancerous cells.

Prevention of Colorectal Polyps

The best way to prevent colorectal polyps is to make healthy lifestyle choices. Eating a balanced diet, avoiding or quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight are all important. Regular screening tests, such as a colonoscopy, can also help detect polyps early and prevent any possible complications.