Polyps are extra tissues that grow inside the body organs. Colon polyps grow in the colon (large intestine).
They are shaped like a mushroom or a dome-like button. Polyps may be as small as a tiny pea. At times, they are larger than a plum.
Most are colon polyps are benign. This means they are not cancerous (malignant). However, some types of polyps can turn into cancer after a long duration. They can also bleed leading to anaemia.
Larger polyps are more likely to contain cancer cells. Generally, small polyps are not harmful.
Heredity and genes are important factors in the formation of polyps. At times diet plays an important role.
People who are likely to get polyps include those:
Other factors likely to lead to colon polyps are
Small polyps may not cause symptoms and doctors are likely to find them while testing them for something else or during regular checkups.
If there are symptoms, these may include:
Testing for Colon Polyps
A patient's medical history can be a good pointer to risk factors for colon polyps.
There are various methods for testing presence of polyps:
Treatment of Colon Polyps
Treatment is normally by removal of the polyp. The polyps may be taken out during sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.
They are removed by trapping them with a wire loop that concurrently cuts the stalk of the polyp and cauterizes it to prevent bleeding.
They may also be taken out during an operation of the abdomen. Large polyps are removed through Laparoscopic surgery.
In Laparoscopic surgery, your surgeon performs the operation through several small incisions in your abdominal wall. Instruments with attached cameras are used. They display your colon on a video monitor.
Laparoscopic surgery normally results in a faster and less painful recovery than traditional surgery using a single large incision.
Individuals who have had polyps need to be tested regularly in order to check future reoccurrence.
How to Prevent Colon Polyps
There is no sure way of preventing polyps. However, you can greatly reduce your risk of getting them by:
Calcium regulates the growth of the cells that are the inside of the colon. People who get 1000-1500 mg of calcium a day in their diet have less colon cancer. Calcium supplements can help in avoiding colon polyps.
Foods that are rich in calcium include dairy products such as milk and cheese, as wells as vegetables such as broccoli. Foods rich in foliate are include chickpeas, kidney beans, and spinach.
It is also thought that aspirin might help prevent polyps.
Early identification and removal of polyps can prevent colon cancer from developing.