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Polyps of the Colon and Rectum

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Polyps are one of the most common conditions affecting the colon and rectum. Polyps are abnormal cells that grow on the lining of the colon. Although most colon polyps are harmless, some become cancerous over time. Colon polyps found in the early can be removed safely and completely.


Usually colon polyps don't cause symptoms, which is why your doctor recommends regular screening. Most polyps produce no symptoms and often are found incidentally during endoscopy or x-ray of the bowel.

In some cases, you might experience the following symptoms:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in your stool
  • Constipation, diarrhea or narrowing of the stool
  • Pain or obstruction.
  • Cramps or abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

Causes and Risk Factors

Anyone can develop colon polyps but there are known factors that increase the likelihood you’ll develop them including:

  • Age 50 or older
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Eating a high-fat, low-fiber diet
  • Having a personal or family history of colon polyps or colon cancer

Diagnostic Tests

Since polyps can become cancerous, the main reason for diagnostic testing is to find polyps early. Polyps are diagnosed by looking at the colon lining directly.

Your doctor may use one of these screening methods:

  • Colonoscopy
  • Computerized tomographic colonography
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Barium enema

Treatment and Procedures

There is no way to accurately determine whether a colon polyp will become cancerous so your doctor will recommend removal of all polyps detected through examination.

Most polyps can be removed on an outpatient basis with minimal discomfort using one of the following methods:

  • Snaring them with a wire loop passed through the instrument.
  • Touching them with a coagulating electrical current.

Large polyps may require more than one treatment for complete removal.

Polyps that can’t be removed by instruments because of their size or position require surgery.

Your health is our greatest concern. Please contact the Center for Colon & Rectal Surgery at 407.303.2615for a private consultation today.