What Causes Polyps in the Colon?

Reviewed on 12/31/2020

What Are Colon Polyps?

Colon Polyps
There are several different types of polyps, and some polyps have the potential to become cancerous.

Colon polyps are abnormal growths of tissue that project from mucous membranes on the lining of the large intestine (colon). They may be flat or may appear to be attached by a stalk (pedunculated). Colon polyps are the most common type of polyp.

There are several different types of polyps, and some polyps have the potential to become cancerous. 

Polyps that usually do not become cancerous include: 

  • Inflammatory polyps 
  • Hamartomatous polyps 

3 Types of polyps that may become cancerous include:  

  • Adenomatous polyps (adenomas)
  • Hyperplastic polyps
  • Sessile-serrated and traditional-serrated polyps

What Are Symptoms of Colon Polyps?

Colon polyps often have no symptoms. When symptoms of colon polyps occur, they may include:

What Causes Colon Polyps?

Causes of colon polyps include: 


How Are Colon Polyps Diagnosed?

In addition to a physical examination, colon polyps are often diagnosed during screening to check for colon or rectal cancer

Tests for colon polyps include: 

A tissue sample (biopsy) may be taken of the colon polyp to determine if it is cancerous. 

What Is the Treatment for Colon Polyps?

Polyps are usually removed when they are found on colonoscopy in order to eliminate the chance for them to become cancerous. Surgical removal of colon polyps is called a polypectomy, which is performed through a colonoscopy. 

Colorectal cancer can often be prevented if precancerous polyps (such as adenomas) are detected and removed before they become cancerous (malignant).

What Are the Complications of Colon Polyps?

Complications of colon polyps include: 

Complications of polypectomy to remove colon polyps are uncommon and may include bleeding and intestinal perforation (rare).


What are risk factors for developing colon cancer? See Answer

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Reviewed on 12/31/2020