Colorectal Polyps

Colorectal polyps are benign growths found in the colon (large intestine) or the rectum. While they are usually harmless, they can become cancerous.

What are colorectal polyps?

Colorectal polyps, also known as colon polyps, are a prevalent occurrence affecting the colon and rectum. The term “colorectal” encompasses both these areas, as conditions affecting the colon often extend to the rectum. These polyps arise in either the colon or rectum and are characterised by the growth of cell clusters on the lining.

While polyps themselves are typically harmless and often asymptomatic, it is crucial to remove colon and rectal polyps because they have the potential to develop into cancer over time. To detect the presence of colorectal polyps, we recommend scheduling a colonoscopy with one of our nearby specialists.

What causes colorectal polyps?

Colorectal polyps develop when cells exhibit abnormal growth or division. The exact cause of this occurrence is still uncertain within the medical community, but certain correlations and risk factors have been identified in individuals with colon or rectal polyps.

The risk factors associated with colon and rectal polyps include:

– Obesity
– Smoking
– Age over 45
– Previous personal or family history of colon or rectal polyps
– Crohn’s disease
– Ulcerative colitis
– Type 2 diabetes
– Genetic predisposition
– Heavy alcohol consumption
– Consumption of a “Typical Western diet” high in fat and low in fibre

In addition, certain hereditary genetic conditions can significantly increase the risk of developing colon and rectal polyps. These conditions include:

– Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
– Lynch syndrome
– Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
– Gardner’s syndrome
– Serrated polyposis syndrome
– MYH-associated polyposis (MAP)

What are the symptoms of colorectal polyps?

Most instances of colon or rectal polyps do not exhibit noticeable symptoms. However, if you are experiencing symptoms, some of the most prevalent signs of colorectal polyps include:

– Abdominal pain
– Blood in the stool
– Shortness of breath
– Fatigue
– Weakness
– Constipation
– Diarrhea (lasting longer than a week)
– Iron deficiency anemia

If you are encountering a combination of these symptoms, are aged 45 or above, or have a family history of colon cancer or colorectal polyps, we recommend reaching out to any of our specialists in your local area to schedule an appointment for a colon cancer screening.

What does it mean if a physician finds polyps during a colonoscopy?

When a physician discovers polyps during a colonoscopy, it is a common occurrence. Many times, these polyps are benign, meaning they are not cancerous. During the colonoscopy, if polyps are found, they are typically removed through a procedure known as polypectomy. The removed polyps are then sent for testing to determine if they are cancerous.

If the colorectal polyps are determined to be non-cancerous, your physician will likely recommend regular screening for colon cancer in the future. This is done to monitor your health and ensure early detection of any potential issues. However, if the polyp is found to be malignant or cancerous, you and your physician will have a discussion about the appropriate steps to be taken moving forward.

The primary method of treating colorectal polyps is their removal. This can be done during a colonoscopy or a flexible sigmoidoscopy, through a polypectomy procedure. In rare cases, if the situation is severe, it may be necessary to remove a portion or the entire colon or rectum to address the issue.


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