Colon Polyps: The Facts
Since polyps often occur without pain and do not cause other symptoms, they are usually discovered while performing secondary tests.
You’ve probably heard of polyps in the colon, or perhaps you’ve suffered from them in the past or know of someone who has. Your first question is most likely: Are they serious? Although colon polyps are usually benign, they should not be ignored; they can become cancerous. A colonoscopy is necessary to detect and remove them. But… What types of symptoms do they cause? What should I be looking for? We’ll answer these questions today in our article.
1. What are colon polyps?
If your doctor diagnoses you with colon polyps, you may be scared or puzzled wondering what exactly polyps are. Are they lumps? Are they a type of infection? A colon polyp is actually something relatively common: an abnormal growth on the walls of the colon or large intestine.
Polyps may be round, as seen in the picture above, or irregular and relatively flat. As you know, this part of the body is responsible for channeling and redirecting the fecal matter to be expelled through the rectum.
This area is very vulnerable to bacteria and inflammation…so it’s no wonder that this condition is actually fairly common. Don’t be alarmed or think the worst.
As we stated at the beginning, the majority of polyps are benign. However, they require medical intervention in the form of a colonoscopy to remove them from the intestine. One thing we should point out: doctors state that the flat polyps have a higher probability of becoming cancerous. Once again, we’d like to remind you not to be alarmed; polyps are treatable and in most cases are completely benign.
2. Who is most at risk of developing colon polyps?
Some people are more predisposed to developing polyps than others. These risk factors are only indicative, and not determining factors. Sometimes polyps are diagnosed in people who don’t fall into any of these categories, but we should still be aware of these risk factors:
- Over age 50.
- Family history of polyps.
- Drinking alcohol.
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle and eating a poor diet high in fats.
3. What are the symptoms of colon polyps?
The majority of colon polyps are asymptomatic, especially in the initial stages when they’re forming. They’re painless and, as they’re initially small, they don’t impair colon function.
As they grow larger, they can interrupt the passage of fecal matter and rub together, causing bleeding. This is when most people notice symptoms. Here are a few additional symptoms to look out for:
- Dark stool.
- Blood while wiping.
- Burning and pain while evacuating.
- Internal burning after eating spicy foods.
Most polyps are discovered by chance during secondary tests. When your doctor says he has to determine their frequency and number, you should expect a colonoscopy.
Although it’s an uncomfortable procedure, it’s very effective. Don’t worry and follow your doctor’s instructions.
Your doctor will most likely opt to remove them. Over time, they can become cancerous; therefore it’s in your best interest to have them removed. Don’t worry, colonoscopies are generally successful and have a history of good results. Patients will be able to resume a normal life.
How can I prevent colon polyps?
Colon polyps cannot be 100% prevented. There isn’t a supplement we can take to prevent them from forming; however, we can take steps to lower their likelihood of developing by following a healthy lifestyle and diet to care for the colon and promote digestive health. Here are a few recommendations:
- Watch your weight, avoid becoming obese.
- Quit bad habits, like tobacco.
- Eat a green apple every day.
- Oatmeal is essential for colon health; it provides the ideal amount of fiber for the colon.
- Drink a glass of warm water with lemon or take a tablespoon of olive oil with lemon each day.
- Aloe vera and lemon infusions are very healthy.
- Eat more vegetables like beets, broccoli, artichokes, etc.
- Take probiotics; they’re essential for maintaining our intestinal flora.
- Taking a teaspoon of mint oil three times daily after lunch will promote intestinal health and detoxification and heal the entire gastrointestinal tract.