Fort Worth Texas Gastroenterology

COLON POLYPS

Here at Northeast Tarrant Gastroenterology Associates, one of the most common topics that we discuss with our patients is the issue of colon polyps. Questions typically range from “What is a polyp?” to “Why are they important?’ to “How do you get rid of them?". So, to help answer some of these questions, as well as to help make everyone aware of why screening colonoscopies are so important, here is a brief synopsis:

What is a colon polyp?

A colon polyp is a small cluster of abnormal cells that forms on the inner lining of the colon. The vast majority of polyps are harmless; however, some do harbor the potential to turn into colon cancer if not treated or removed.

Who is at risk for developing polyps?

Colon polyps occur in approximately 30% of the population. Although the exact cause of colon polyps remains unknown, certain risk factors have been identified. These include:

  • Increasing age (typically, greater than age 50)
  • A family history of colon polyps or colorectal cancer
  • A prior personal history of colon polyps or colon cancer
  • A history of inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract such as Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol excess
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Poorly controlled Type 2 Diabetes

What are the symptoms of having colon polyps?

Most polyps are completely asymptomatic, which is why screening colonoscopies are so important. If a patient does exhibit symptoms, they may show signs of:

  • Bloody bowel movements
  • Altered bowel habits (prolonged constipation or diarrhea)
  • Abdominal pain
  • The development of anemia

How are colon polyps detected and treated?

The gold standard for detecting and treating colon polyps is through colonoscopy. Colonoscopy allows for both the direct visualization of any polyps that may be present on the lining of the colon, as well as their subsequent removal using either biopsy forceps or a metal snare. Once polyps are detected and removed, they are typically sent to a pathologist for further evaluation and determination on when a repeat colonoscopy should take place. In most instances, the next colonoscopy usually takes place in 3 to 5 years.

If you are in need of a routine screening colonoscopy or have concerns/problems that you feel need to be further addressed by endoscopic testing, we encourage you to make an appointment with us. We look forward to seeing you!

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817-284-2693

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