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Symptoms and Signs of Colon Polyps Symptoms, Causes, Types, and Cancer Risk

Doctor's Notes on Colon Polyps Symptoms, Causes, Types, and Cancer Risk

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 older age.

Often colon polyps do not cause any symptoms. When symptoms of colon polyps do occur they may include rectal bleeding, anemia (fatigue, shortness of breath, skin pallor), diarrhea or constipation, decreased stool size, black stools, abdominal pain, nausea and/or vomiting, and intussusception (the colon folds into itself or telescopes). Pain is uncommon.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


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