Gastrointestinal colon polyps are small, benign tumors that grow on the inner lining of your large intestines. Polyps can be present on the surface of the intestine or inside the intestine.
They are not cancerous and do not spread to other parts of the body. However, polyps can become cancerous. Gastrointestinal polyps are easy to diagnose.
There are many methods for diagnosing them including colonoscopy, wherein a scope is inserted from the anus to examine the outer large intestine.
Polyps can grow anywhere in the large intestine and tumours can grow on the inner lining of the intestine or on the surfaces of the small intestine.
In this article you will get some more information on colon polyps and which symptoms to look for, diagnosis and treatments offered.
What are Colon Polyps?
Colon polyps are growths of tissue that develop in the colon, which is also known as the large intestine. While they might come in several sizes, these growths can easily become cancerous.
Having too many fat cells or having too little exercising and eating healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6 will raise this risk.
Colon polyps can also come from your genes and giving people a reason to always look out after themselves even if it isn’t an option for you. Therefore, more research on improving treatments needs to be made.
Colorectal polyps are small, fleshy growths that form on the inner lining of the large intestine. They can occur in both noncancerous and cancerous tissues and appear as small, fleshy growths.
While it’s not uncommon to see your doctor for a yearly screening, there are many easy yet effective steps you can take to protect your colorectal health.
Be sure to eat plenty of fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, cereals and legumes; exercise regularly; drink lots of water; maintain a healthy weight; reduce your consumption of saturated fats (such as those found in red meat) and salt (many processed foods contain added salt).
Signs and Symptoms of Polyps
Some of the most common signs of polyps include rectal bleeding, rectal bleeding and abdominal pain.
Although some people can often get away with simple microsurgeries to get rid of the cancer, repeat surgeries may still be required.
Even if performed carefully and properly, cancer can recur after bowel surgery. Ask your doctor to refer you for a colonoscopy if your see any of these signs and symptoms of polyps in yourself or a loved one.
Inflammation in the area may be a sign that a polyp is in a precancerous stage in some cases, they need to be removed.
When symptoms or signs occur, they may include:
- Bloody stool
- Black Stool
- Constipation if the polyp is very large and obstructs the colon
- Intestinal obstruction including abdominal pain and distention, nausea, and vomiting.
Diagnosis of Gastrointestinal Colon Polyps
Colon polyps are typically identified through colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy is where a tube is inserted into the anus and it is used to view the lining of the rectum, the lower part of the large intestine, the lowest part of the small intestine, and the cecum, which is located at the point where the small intestine empties into the large intestine.
The procedure can also detect anomalies in these areas. If polyps are found, they can be removed during the colonoscopy.
These tests can also help find colorectal cancer in its early stages.
Virtual Colonoscopy – Virtual colonoscopy is a special X-ray examination of the colon using low dose computed tomography (CT) and is a less invasive procedure than a conventional colonoscopy.
As the popularity of virtual colonoscopy continues to grow, some healthcare consultant across the world is recommending that students at highest risk for developing bowel cancer, who are more likely to suffer early onset of the disease than older patients, undergo screening tests more regularly.
This test looks for changes in the lining of your digestive tract on a monitor instead of an actual colonoscopy.
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy – This is an endoscopic procedure that allows your doctor to do an examination of the rectum and lower colon. A sigmoidoscope consists of a thin flexible lighted tube with a camera at the tip to visualize the area.
Stool-based Test – These tests look at the stool (feces) for possible signs of colorectal cancer or polyps and can be done at home. A stool-based test however does need to be done more often.
How to Prepare for Colonoscopy
The most important thing that you need to know before going into a colonoscopy is that it is an invasive procedure.
In order for you to be as prepared as possible for your colonoscopy, you need to start preparing the day before your procedure.
Diligent studies have shown that colonoscopy is one of the most effective ways to detect early signs of colon cancer in humans.
While anticipatory anxiety can make preparing for a bowel prep seem more trouble than it’s worth, it is essential to prepare adequately in order to maximize the effectiveness of this screening procedure.
When you are scheduled for a routine examination, it is important for you to coordinate with your health care provider in advance in order to ensure that you are able to complete this procedure in full.
Whether or not you’ve had a colonoscopy before, this process will likely differ in some aspects from your previous experience, making preparation all the more essential.
Bowel prep medication will be prescribed by your doctor to ensure you are fully prepped for your colonoscopy.
That way, your doctor will have a clear view of your colon and ileocecal valve.
Therefore, it is vital not to eat or drink anything before going in for a colonoscopy.
Treatment of Gastrointestinal Colon Polyps
There are many different types of treatment options available for gastrointestinal colon polyps.
One of these treatment options is to remove the polyps.
If your doctor decides to remove the polyps, during this procedure your surgeon will need to cut the polyps away from the colon wall, and then resect the polyps as far as they can reach within the colon.
The treatment option that your doctor chooses should depend on the location and size of the polyps.
If you want to determine if you need surgery to remove the polyps, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy.
Prevention of Gastrointestinal Colon Polyps
In order to prevent polyps from forming, you should reduce your risk of getting one on a regular basis.
- Diet – Eating foods that are high in fiber is a great way to increase the weight and density of the stool, which helps minimize the chances of an abnormality being able to break free from the lining.
Food high in fiber:
- Whole Grains
- Dried Fruits
- Exercise regularly – a greater frequency of bowel movements means increased risk for polyps. Limit your intake of red meat and processed food, as they have been proven to have additional harmful side-effects for health beyond their nutritional value.
No one should ever ignore symptoms like fecal blood because this could lead to serious health issues for yourself and loved ones.
Understanding symptoms is important when finding preventions for unwanted conditions in your body.
Dr Deetlefs has admitting rights and performs endoscopies at both Mediclinic Milnerton and Life Vincent Pallotti Hospitals.
To learn more about the complexity of your gut and the opportunity for you to contribute to the scientific pursuit of gastrointestinal knowledge, visit our Cape Town office or visit our website.
We are gastroenterologist experts using patient-focused GI treatment and procedures in Cape Town.
If you haven’t been scheduled for a colonoscopy and want to get one, make an appointment now.
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.
© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town
Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.