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
- 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) Also in Spanish
- When You Visit Your Doctor: Colonic Polyps (Harvard Medical School)
Treatments and Therapies
- Before a Colonoscopy: Ten Questions to Help You Select an Endoscopist (American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy)
- Large bowel resection - slideshow (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
- familial adenomatous polyposis: MedlinePlus Genetics (National Library of Medicine)
- juvenile polyposis syndrome: MedlinePlus Genetics (National Library of Medicine)
- Peutz-Jeghers syndrome: MedlinePlus Genetics (National Library of Medicine)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Colonic Polyps (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Gastrointestinal endoscopy nurse assistance during colonoscopy and polyp detection: A PRISMA-compliant...
- Article: Inspection and polypectomy during both insertion and withdrawal or only during...
- Article: Is surveillance colonoscopy necessary for all patients with bowel polyps?
- 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