Find out why colon polyps are not something to ignore.
A colon polyp is a growth that develops within the lining of the colon. While some polyps are benign, others can turn into colorectal cancer. Since many of these polyps don’t cause symptoms, it’s important that you turn to our Lima, OH, gastroenterologists for regular screenings.
What are the risk factors for colon polyps?
While doctors don’t yet know the cause of these polyps, there are certain factors that could put someone at an increased risk for developing them. These factors include:
- Being over 50 years old
- Being obese or overweight
- A personal history of polyps
- A family history of polyps or colon cancer
- Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Type 2 diabetes
- Certain heredity disorders
- Heavy alcohol use
- Eating a diet that is high in fat
- Living an inactive lifestyle
While you can’t change all of these risk factors, there are certain factors that you can influence. By leading a healthier lifestyle alone, you can greatly reduce your chances of colon polyps. Talk with your doctors about the changes and steps that you can make to improve your digestive health.
What are the symptoms and signs of a colon polyp?
As we mentioned earlier, colon polyps often don’t cause symptoms, which is why routine screenings are crucial; however, some people with polyps may notice:
- Rectal bleeding
- Bowel changes (constipation or diarrhea)
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Changes in stool color (black stools could indicate bleeding)
- Iron-deficiency anemia (caused by bleeding polyps)
When should I start getting regular colorectal cancer screenings?
The only way to detect a polyp is through a traditional colonoscopy at our Lima office. Both men and women who are low risk for developing colorectal cancer should receive their first screening by the time they turn 50 years old. Those at a moderate to high risk for colorectal cancer may want to get screened even earlier. When and how often you receive a screening is something to discuss with your gastroenterologist.
Concerned? Give us a call
Is it time to schedule your routine colonoscopy? Have questions about what a gastroenterologist can offer you? If so, call Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, today at (419) 227-8209. We are happy to answer your questions and schedule your next appointment.