What're the symptoms of colon polyps?
Most polyps don't cause symptoms. When there are symptoms, rectal bleeding is the most common complaint. Cramps, abdominal pain, or a blockage may occur. Occasionally, a polyp on a long stalk may fall through the anus. Colon polyps range from smaller than a pea to golf ball sized. Small polyps, especially, aren't likely to cause signs and symptoms, and
you may not know you have one until your doctor finds it during an examination of your bowel. Sometimes, however, you may have signs and symptoms such as:
Rectal bleeding. You might notice bright red blood on toilet paper after you've had a bowel movement. Although this may be a sign of colon polyps, rectal bleeding can indicate other conditions, such as hemorrhoids or minor tears (fissures) in your anus. Hemorrhoids don't usually bleed consistently over a period of weeks, however, so if your bleeding is prolonged, be sure to tell your doctor.
Blood in your stool. Blood can make your stool appear black, or it may show up as red streaks. Certain foods can also affect the color of your bowel movements. Iron supplements and some anti-diarrheal medications - Pepto-Bismol is one example - can make stools black. Beets and red licorice can turn stools red.
Constipation or diarrhea. Although a change in bowel habits that lasts longer than a week may indicate the presence of a large colon polyp, it can also result from a number of other conditions. Your doctor can help find the cause.
Pain or obstruction. Sometimes a large colon polyp may partially obstruct your bowel, leading to crampy abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and severe constipation.
Nearly all colon cancers develop from polyps, but the polyps grow slowly, usually over a period of years. Screening tests play a key role in detecting polyps before they become cancerous. These tests can also help find colorectal cancer in its early stages, when you have a good chance of recovery. When early-stage cancers are found and removed during routine screening, the five-year survival rate may be as high as 90 percent. A doctor may be able to feel polyps by inserting a gloved finger into the rectum, but usually polyps are discovered during flexible sigmoidoscopy (examination of the lower portion of the large intestine with a viewing tube). If flexible sigmoidoscopy reveals a polyp, colonoscopy is performed to examine the entire large intestine. This more complete and reliable examination is performed because more than one polyp is usually present and may be cancerous. Colonoscopy also allows a doctor to perform a biopsy (removal of a tissue sample for examination under a microscope) of any area that appears cancerous.
More information on colorectal cancer
What is colorectal cancer? - Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum, anus, and appendix.
What causes colorectal cancer? - Colorectal cancer is a disease resulting from mutations in epithelial cells lining the gastrointestinal tract.
What're the risk factors for colorectal cancer? - Risk factors for colorectal cancer include family history of colon cancer, age, smoking, diet, virus.
What're the symptoms of colorectal cancer? - Symptoms of colorectal cancer vary depending on the location of the cancer within the colon or rectum, though there may be no symptoms at all.
How is colorectal cancer screened and diagnosed? - Colorectal cancer usually is diagnosed by a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Screening for colorectal cancer is recommended in individuals who are at increased risk.
What's treatment for colorectal cancer? - Treatment for colorectal cancer depends mostly on the size, location and extent of the tumor. Surgery to remove the tumor is the most common treatment.
How to prevent the development of colorectal cancer? - Colorectal cancer can be associated with known risk factors. Many risk factors are modifiable though not all can be avoided.
What is a colon polyp? - Colon polyps are growths that stick out from the lining of the lower intestine. Polyps can develop anywhere in your large intestine.
What're the symptoms of colon polyps? - Smptoms of colon polyps include rectal bleeding, blood in stool, constipation or diarrhea, pain or obstruction.
What's the treatment for colon polyps? - For people with familial colon polyps, complete removal of the large intestine and rectum eliminates the risk of cancer.