A colon polyp is a small clump of cells that forms on the lining of the colon. Most colon polyps are harmless. But over time, some colon polyps can develop into colon cancer, which may be fatal when found in its later stages.
Colon polyps often don’t cause symptoms. It’s important to have regular screening tests, such as a colonoscopy, because colon polyps found in the early stages can usually be removed safely and completely. The best prevention for colon cancer is regular screening for and removal of polyps. However, some people with colon polyps may experience:
- Rectal bleeding.
- Change in stool color.
- Change in bowel habits.
- A large colon polyp can partially obstruct your bowel, leading to crampy abdominal pain.
- Iron deficiency anemia. Bleeding from polyps can occur slowly over time, without visible blood in your stool. The result is iron deficiency anemia, which can make you feel tired and short of breath.
Risk factors- Factors that may contribute to the formation of colon polyps or cancer include:
- Most people with colon polyps are 50 or older.
- Inflammatory intestinal conditions, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease of the colon.
- Family history. 1st degree relatives are more likely to develop colon polyps or cancer .
- Smoking and excess alcohol use. An increased risk of developing colon polyps for people who consumed three or more alcoholic drinks per day. Alcohol intake combined with smoking also appears to increase the risk.
- Obesity, lack of exercise and fat intake. All of these factors can increase your risk of developing polyps. On the other hand, including more fiber in your diet and exercising regularly can reduce your risk.