Polyps are found on the lining of the bowels. They are benign growths that can be observed in several areas of the gastrointestinal tract, including the colon. Their sizes can vary, from a quarter of an inch to several inches. They appear as bumps around the lumen, or bowl cavity. They can exhibit a mushroom-like appearance as well.
Adults are more vulnerable to contracting polyps as they age. The causes of polyps are unknown, but experts have determined a positive correlation between fat volume and poly formation. An additional risk can result from genetic causes.
There are two types of polyps, these are known as hyperplastic polyps and adenoma. Hyperplastic polyps are not known to lead to cancer, so they present a smaller risk and adenoma. Colon cancers are believed to stem from adenoma. This form of polyp does not produce cancer in all cases, but they in larger groups, the probability grows. The largest ones are likely to contain small amounts of cancer. This is why it is recommended to remove large polyps to decrease the chance of contracting this life-threating condition.
During the screening process, if evidence of polyps has been found, a colonoscopy is recommended. Most polyps are removed through surgical cutting or burning with an electric current. The burning method, known as polyp resection, does not cause discomfort because the bowels are not sensitive to applied heat. The removed polyps are examined to determine any instance of cancer.
Possible complications resulting from polyp removal include bleeding from the surgical site and a hole in the colon. The bleeding can be treated immediately during the polypectomy procedure. Depending on the individual, multiple colonoscopies may be required. The doctor will inform you if the next procedure if necessary.
To prepare for sigmoidoscopy, drink only clear fluids 12-24 hours before the treatment. An enema may be provided the night before the procedure to rinse the intestines. To learn more about sigmoidoscopy, contact our office for an appointment.