Colon and Rectum are the last part of large intestine. Usually stool is stored in colon. The cells lining the colorectum live for a week and then they shed off and new cells form. But sometimes those cells don’t die because of genetic changes. They build up and then form polyps (group of abnormal cells). Usually, colorectal polyps are not harmful and they don’t spread. But sometimes they can develop into a cancer. So finding the polyps and surgically removing them early can prevent from developing colorectal cancer.
Causes of Colorectal Polyps
Genetic changes in the cells of colon and rectum happening due to some unknown reasons can cause colorectal polyps. There are some risk factors which predispose these polyps :
Colorectal polyps sometimes tends to run in families.
People who are above 50 years are more prone to this condition.
High fat, low fibre and diet rich in red meat increases the risk for polyps.
Smokers tend to get colorectal cancer more than non-smokers.
Symptoms of Colorectal Polyps
Usually polyps don’t have specific symptoms. But patients may experience:
- Blood in the stools
- Since blood is lost in stool,they might feel tired and weak over time due to anemia
- Sometimes, they might have watery stools
Diagnosing Colorectal polyps
Your doctor will perform a physical exam. If the polyp is very large in size, it can be felt during a rectal exam.
- Colonoscopy/Sigmoidoscopy– In these procedures, a thin flexible tube is introduced into the anus. The tube is advanced through the entire length of the large intestine. The tube has a light source and a small camera. If u have a polyp, a lump protruding inside of the colon will be seen on the camera.
- Virtual colonoscopy using a CT scan will give a clear image of the polyp
- Barium enema Xray– patients are given a solution containing barium that causes abnormalities in the colon to show up at a higher contrast on the final X-ray image. If there is a growth, it will show up white on the X-ray image. This makes it easier to examine.
Stool is collected in a small container to check if there is any hidden blood. Although it might not say the reason for bleeding, the doctor can know if there is something wrong in the colon or rectum. So this can be useful as a basic test for colorectal polyp patients.
Treatments for Colorectal Polyps
If one is found to have a polyp, whether cancerous or not, its better to undergo a surgical procedure called Polypectomy. It means surgical removal of the polyps.
If there is only one polyp, or only few polyps, the surgeon deals with them at the time of colonoscopy, by passing a loop (snare) around the base of the polyp, and then burning off the polyps.
Prevention of colorectal polyps
Lifestyle changes and early screening is preventive for colorectal polyp.
- Eat a diet that is low in fat and high in fruits, vegetables, and fiber.
- Quit smoking/ Alcohol consumption
- Maintain a normal body weight with regular exercise
- If has a family history of the disease, he/she should start having colonoscopy screening as early as possible.
Colorectal Polyp Specialists
Dr. J. S. Rajkumar
M.S., F.I.C.S., Dip. N.B. (SURG.), F.R.C.S. (ENG.), F.R.C.S. (EDIN.), F.R.C.S. (GLASGOW), F.R.C.S. (IRELAND), F.I.M.S., F.A.I.S., F.R.M.S. (LONDON), F.A.E. (GASTRO), F.A.C.G. (USA), F.I.C.A. (USA), F.I.A.G.E.S., Dip M.I.S. (FR.)
Dr. R. Prabhakaran
Consultant Surgical Gastroenterology
M.B.B.S., M.S. (GENERAL SURGERY), M.Ch. (SGE), DLAP, FACRASI
Dr. S. Akbar
Consultant General and Laparoscopic Surgery
M.B.B.S., M.S (GENERAL SURGERY), D.MAS, F.MAS.