Symptoms and causes

What is it?

A polyp can best be described as a small amount of extra tissue growing in the body. In the case of the large intestine, these lesions come from the mucous membrane that covers the inside of the large intestine. One can best imagine the situation as a cherry hanging from a more or less thick and/or short stem on the inside of the intestine. The vast majority of polyps are not dangerous (i.e. not malignant). However, if polyps are given a long enough time to grow, they can become malignant.

Cause

Anyone can develop polyps. Nevertheless, there are a number of situations in which it is known that the likelihood of their presence increases. People over the age of 50 are more likely to have polyps, and this chance increases with age. A patient who has already been diagnosed with polyps is also more likely to develop new ones. The presence of polyps and/or colorectal cancer in close relatives also increases the risk.

Symptoms and complaints

Polyps usually do not cause any symptoms. If they do cause symptoms, it can be constipation and/or diarrhoea, blood loss along the anus and blood in the stool.

Testing and diagnosis

The presence of a polyp can be determined in different ways, but the best way is to perform a colonoscopy. This examination has the additional advantage that if polyps or suspect tissues are detected, they can be removed completely or a biopsy of them can be taken immediately.

Diagnosis and treatment

The presence of a polyp can be determined in different ways, but the best way is to perform a colonoscopy. This examination has the additional advantage that if polyps or suspect tissues are detected, they can be removed completely or immediately biopsied.

Treatment centres and specialisations

Digestive Centre

Latest publication date: 21/01/2021
Supervising author: Dr Vanderstraeten Erik