Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Colon Polyps

Definition

Colon polyps are growths on the lining of the colon or rectum. The colon and the rectum are parts of the large intestine.

The 2 most common types are:

  • Adenomatous—Precancerous and can become larger over time. They may or may not turn cancerous.
  • Hyperplastic—Don't get bigger and rarely turn into cancer.

Colon Polyp
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Causes ^

The cause of most colon polyps is unknown. It may be partly linked to your genes.

There are certain inherited conditions may cause polyps to form such as:

Risk Factors ^

Your chances of colon polyps are higher for:

Symptoms ^

Polyps don't cause problems in most people. They're often found during testing.

In those that have them, polyps may cause:

Diagnosis ^

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:

Treatment ^

A polyp may be taken out if it's big enough. Large polyps have the highest chance for growing into cancer. Usually, they can be removed when you're getting a scope.

Very large polyps may need to be taken out with surgery.

Prevention ^

To help lower your chances of colon polyps:

  • Eat a high fiber diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Lower your intake fats found in meats and dairy (full fat).
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you smoke, ask your doctor how to quit.
  • See your doctor for regular screenings after the age of 50.
RESOURCES:

American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
https://www.fascrs.org

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
https://www.niddk.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
https://www.cag-acg.org

Canadian Digestive Health Foundation
http://www.cdhf.ca

REFERENCES:

Colon polyps. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/colon-polyps. Accessed August 15, 2018.

Colonoscopy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114112/Colonoscopy. Updated July 30, 2018. Accessed August 15, 2018.

Eating, diet, & nutrition for colon polyps. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/colon-polyps/eating-diet-nutrition. Updated September 2017. Accessed August 15, 2018.

Endoscopic removal of large colon polyps. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T921374/Endoscopic-removal-of-large-colon-polyps. Updated May 30, 2018. Accessed August 15, 2018.

Polyps of the colon and rectum. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.fascrs.org/patients/disease-condition/polyps-colon-and-rectum. Accessed August 15, 2018.

Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daus Mahnke, MD  Last Updated: 8/15/2018