A polyp is an extra piece of tissue that grows inside your body. Colonic polyps grow in the large intestine, or colon. Most polyps are not dangerous. However, some polyps may turn into cancer or already be cancer. To be safe, doctors remove polyps and test them. Polyps can be removed when a doctor examines the inside of the large intestine during a colonoscopy.
Anyone can get polyps, but certain people are more likely than others. You may have a greater chance of getting polyps if you
- Are over age 50
- Have had polyps before
- Have a family member with polyps
- Have a family history of colon cancer
Most colon polyps do not cause symptoms. If you have symptoms, they may include blood on your underwear or on toilet paper after a bowel movement, blood in your stool, or constipation or diarrhea lasting more than a week.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Diagnosis and Tests
- Colonic Polyps: Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor (Harvard Medical School)
- Colonoscopy: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Lower GI Series (Barium Enema) (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in Spanish
- Tests to Detect Colorectal Cancer and Polyps (National Cancer Institute)
- Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
- Genetics Home Reference: familial adenomatous polyposis (National Library of Medicine)
- Genetics Home Reference: juvenile polyposis syndrome (National Library of Medicine)
- Genetics Home Reference: Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (National Library of Medicine)
- Hereditary Mixed Polyposis Syndrome (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
- Juvenile Polyposis Syndrome (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
- MYH-Associated Polyposis (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Colonic Polyps (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Terminology, Molecular Features, Epidemiology, and Management of Serrated Colorectal Neoplasia.
- Article: Efficacy of Prophylactic Hemoclips in Prevention of Delayed Post-Polypectomy Bleeding in...
- Article: Right-Sided Location Not Associated With Missed Colorectal Adenomas in an Individual-Level...
- Colonic Polyps -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- American Cancer Society
- ASGE: Find a Doctor (American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy)
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases