Colorectal Polyps: Diagnosis and Treatment
Colorectal polyps are small growths of tissue that form on the lining of the colon or rectum. Most of these polyps are harmless and occur more frequently as you age.
What Causes Colorectal Polyps?
Anyone can have them, but the risk for colorectal polyps increases if you are:
- Over the age of 50
- A smokers
- Have a family history of polyps
Types of Polyps
There are different types of polyps that form in the colon or rectum. Most of them are benign, which means they will not spread and will never become cancerous. Only a small percentage of the most common type, adenomatous polyps, will develop into cancer. Fortunately, a physician can perform a colonoscopy in order to accurately detect and diagnose colorectal polyps.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Colorectal Polyps?
Because most cases of colorectal polyps involve no symptoms, a doctor’s examination is often when most patients first find out that they have polyps. However, if you think you have polyps, you may have already experienced symptoms such as:
- Blood in the stool
- Rectal bleeding
- Rectal pain or discomfort
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue caused by blood loss over time
Colorectal Polyps Treatment
The best way to treat colorectal polyps is to remove them. This is usually done during a bowel examination, like a colonoscopy. A doctor uses biopsy forceps or a wire loop to remove the polyps. They are then examined under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present.
If you have had cancerous or potentially cancerous polyps removed before, you are at an increased risk for cancer, and will likely need follow-up screening.
While most polyps can be identified and removed during bowel exams, some polyps are too large to be removed. In such cases, laparoscopic surgery may be required.
Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery called a polypectomy uses a laparoscope – a long, thin instrument with a high-resolution camera – to aid in removal.
Get Care from TGH Experts
The gastroenterologists at Tampa General Hospital’s Endoscopy Center are skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal polyps. Our patients are our priority and we create personalized treatment plans based on each patient’s condition, overall health and other factors. That’s just one reason why Tampa General Hospital is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's best hospitals and highest ranked in Florida for Gastroenterology & GI Surgery.
Use Tampa General Hospital’s Physician Finder to find a gastroenterologist or call 1-800-833-3627.