A colon polyp is a small clump of cells that develops on the lining of the colon. Colon polyps are harmless in most cases. However, over time some colon polyps can develop into cancer, which may be life-threatening if found in its later stage.
Anyone can develop colon polyps. However, you are at a higher risk if:
- Your age is 50 or above
- You are overweight
- You are a smoker
- You have a family history of colon polyps or colon cancer
Colon polyps usually don’t cause symptoms. Therefore, it’s important to have regular screening tests, such as colonoscopy to detect it in the early stage. Colon polyps detected in the early stage can be removed safely and completely.
Since most people with colon polyps don’t experience any symptoms, you might also not know if you have colon polyps until the doctor finds it during the examination of your colon.
However, some people with colon polyps may experience the following symptoms:
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Change in stool colour
- Change in bowel habits
- Iron deficiency anaemia
Visit a specialist doctor if you experience the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in stool
- Change in the bowel habit
You should have regular screening for polyps:
- If you are 50 or above
- If you have a family history of colon polyps or colon cancer
Research suggests that polyps are found in about 30% of the adult population over the age group of 45-50. A polyp is the result of genetic changes in the cells of the colon lining.
Several factors increase the risk or rate of these changes, including but not limited to:
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Not exercising (Inactive lifestyle)
- Being overweight
- Eating processed foods and too much red meat
A doctor recommends a few diagnostic tests and screening to diagnose colon polyps, including:
- CT scan
- Stool tests
The best way to treat colon polyps is to remove them. The doctor removes the polyps during a colonoscopy. After that, they examine the polyps. In some cases, the doctor can get rid of polyps without performing surgery.
However, the doctor performs surgery if polyps are large and can’t be removed during the colonoscopy. In most cases, this can be done during laparoscopic surgery, which is a minimally invasive procedure.