Colon polyps are benign growths on the lining of the bowel. Resembling small bumps or mushrooms on stalks, they vary in size and location. Most commonly found in the colon, an individual might have several polyps in different parts of their colon. The average 50-year-old with no specific risk factors has a 25% chance of having a polyp.

Causes of Colon Polyps

  • The exact reason for colon polyp formation remains unclear.
  • High-fat and low-fiber diets might predispose individuals to poor development.
  • There's a potential genetic risk linked to polyps.

Risks for Developing Colon Polyps

  1. Age: Especially if you are older than 50.
  2. Family History: A family history of colon polyps or colon cancer heightens the risk.
  3. Personal History: Previous polyp patients or those with colon cancer are prone to developing new polyps.
  4. Genetic Syndromes: Some rare genetic conditions could increase the chances of early-age polyp development.

Types of Colon Polyps

  • Hyperplastic polyp: Not considered a cancer risk.
  • Adenoma: Often seen as the root cause of most colon cancers. However, not all adenomas turn into cancer. A biopsy differentiates between hyperplastic and adenomatous polyps. Because appearance alone doesn't confirm the type, removal of most polyps is recommended.

Detection of Colon Polyps

While most colon polyps are asymptomatic, larger ones might cause blood in stools. Some screening methods include:

  • Testing stool for blood traces.
  • Performing a sigmoidoscopy.
  • Undergoing a radiology test, like a barium enema.

Colonoscopy remains the most accurate method, allowing for the removal of any detected or suspected polyps during the procedure.

Colon Polyp Removal

Most colon polyps detected during a colonoscopy can be removed instantly. Techniques usually involve:

  • Cutting them with a wire loop.
  • Burning the polyp base with electric current.

This process is pain-free. The removed polyps are then microscopically examined to determine their nature and check for any signs of cancer.

Risks of Polyp Removal

While polypectomy is standard, complications, though rare, might arise. These include:

  • Bleeding at the removal site.
  • A perforation in the colon.

Post-Removal Colonoscopy Scheduling

The frequency of subsequent colonoscopies depends on:

  • The number and size of removed polyps.
  • Type of polyp tissue.
  • Quality of the prior colon cleanse.

Your doctor will recommend the next steps based on these factors.