Symptoms and Signs of Colon Polyps

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 9/17/2021

Doctor's Notes on Colon Polyps

Colon polyps are usually benign (noncancerous), slow-growing tumors that arise from the epithelial cells in the colon (large intestine). Benign colon polyps do not invade nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body (metastasize) and they are common in many people and increase in occurrence as people age. The cause of colon polyps is unknown but risk factors that may contribute to colon polyp development include a family history, diet, genetics, and advanced age. 

Often colon polyps do not cause any symptoms. When symptoms of colon polyps do occur, pain is uncommon. Symptoms may include:

What Is the Treatment for Colon Polyps?

Surgical removal is the primary treatment for colon polyps:

  • In most cases, polyps can be removed during a screening examination such as a colonoscopy.
  • If a polyp is too large to be removed during a screening procedure, a special surgical procedure may be needed in which a small portion of the bowel is removed.
  • People who have rare, inherited conditions that are associated with numerous polyps and a high risk of cancer may undergo surgical removal of the colon and rectum to prevent the development of cancer.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.