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Colorectal Polyps

Colorectal Polyps

April 22, 2024
Colorectal Polyps

Colon and rectal polyps are small growths that can develop on the lining of the colon or rectum. They are normally harmless, but in some cases, they may become cancerous. However, it might take many years for a polyp to become malignant.

Colon and rectal polyps affect roughly 25% of men and women aged 45 and up. 

What Causes Colorectal Polyps?

The exact cause of colorectal polyps is not always clear, but several risk factors may contribute to their development, including:

·      Aging

·      A diet high in fat and low in fiber

·      Family history of polyps and colon cancer

·      Excessive smoking and alcohol intake

·      Obesity

·      An inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease

What are the Symptoms of Colorectal Polyps?

Most colorectal polyps do not cause any symptoms. When present, may include:

·      Rectal bleeding

·      Changes in bowel habits

·      Abdominal pain

·      Fatigue

Are Colorectal Polyps Serious?

Colorectal polyps are usually benign. However, some types of polyps, such as adenomas, may progress to cancer over time. Healthcare providers remove them upon discovery to prevent this progression.

Should Colorectal Polyps be Removed?

In general, larger adenomas have a higher likelihood of evolving into cancer. Therefore, polyps larger than 5 millimeters or about 3/8 inches should be removed to prevent cancer. Additionally, the polyp is then sent to a lab for testing.

What’s the Best Treatment for Colorectal Polyp?

The best treatment for colorectal polyps is removal. This can be done during a colonoscopy or other diagnostic tests.

People who have adenoma polyps may develop additional polyps in the future. They should undergo a repeat colonoscopy, usually 1–10 years later.

In rare instances, if polyps have a high chance of developing into cancer or are too large for removal via colonoscopy, a partial colectomy may be advised by the healthcare provider. This surgical procedure involves removing the section of the colon affected by the polyps

Can Colorectal Polyps be Prevented?

Colorectal polyps cannot be avoided, although living a healthy lifestyle may lower your risk of having them. This includes:

·      eating a well-balanced diet

·      exercising regularly

·      avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption

·      Getting a regular screening test.

When to Seek Further Medical Help

If you experience any symptoms of colorectal polyps, such as 

rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, or abdominal pain, you should seek medical help. Your healthcare provider can perform a colonoscopy or other diagnostic test to determine if you have colorectal polyps and if they need to be removed.

Colon and rectal polyps are small growths on the colon or rectum lining. Though usually harmless, they can turn cancerous in some instances. Removal is recommended for large polyps, those causing symptoms, or containing precancerous or cancerous cells. A healthy lifestyle and regular colonoscopies can lower the risk of colorectal polyps. Seek medical help if you’re worried about symptoms.

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