Colon Polyps: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment
December 3, 2023
Colon polyps are one of the leading causes of colon cancer. The polyps are small clumps of cells that form on the lining of your colon. While colon health can be easily overlooked, knowing the symptoms and causes of colon polyps can prevent you from pain, discomfort, and even colon cancer.
Not all colon polyps are cancerous, but by learning the symptoms of colon polyps and importance of regular colon screenings, you won’t have to leave it up to chance. Our staff at Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute are here to make the process of colon screening as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
Symptoms of Colon Polyps
For many people, no symptoms develop until a doctor performs an examination of the colon and finds a polyp. However, some people with colon polyps may experience these symptoms:
- Rectal bleeding
- Changes in stool color
- Change in bowel habits
- Abdominal pain
- Iron deficiency anemia
Not all of these symptoms must be present for a colon polyp to be present. If you experience rectal bleeding, we recommend talking to a doctor to ensure no underlying issues, like a polyp, are present. Likewise, any change in bowel habits that lasts longer than a week could indicate that you have a polyp. Often, iron deficiency anemia can be combined with other symptoms of colon polyps, so be watchful of any bowel issues occurring along with fatigue.
Common Causes of Colon Polyps
If you have healthy cells, then they will typically grow in an orderly way. Mutations can sometimes occur though, and this can cause your cells to grow when they aren’t needed. This kind of unregulated growth can make polyps form. Some risk factors include:
- Age: 50 or older
- Family history
- Smoking and excess alcohol use
- Poor diet and exercise regime
The two types of polyps you may experience are neoplastic and nonneoplastic. Nonneoplastic polyps typically do not become cancerous, whereas neoplastic polyps have the potential to become cancerous if given enough time to grow. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the best course of action depending on the type of colon polyp.
Treatment for Colon Polyps
If you're 50 or older, you should be screened regularly for colon polyps. You should also be screened for polyps regularly if you have high-risk factors such as a family history of colon cancer. It’s important to have regular screenings so that if a polyp is found, it can be removed before it becomes harmful.
To screen for colon polyps, a doctor will perform a colonoscopy. While the procedure may be intimidating, our doctors at Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute are committed to making you as comfortable as possible and maintaining your privacy.
Don’t Delay Screening
We recommend that you see a doctor if you experience any abdominal discomfort, blood in your stool, or a change in your bowel habits for over a week. By seeing a doctor soon rather than later, a doctor can check for colon polyps before they worsen. Don’t hesitate to contact Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute if you are experiencing these symptoms, or are above 50!
Call the Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute Today
Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute specializes in treating diseases of the colon, rectum, and anus. We are experts in performing colonoscopies, anorectal surgery, and minimally invasive colon surgery. Our three doctors are known regionally for their expertise in these areas. Visit our website for more information, give us a call to make an appointment at 205-850-1830, or email us at [email protected].