Symptoms of intestinal polyps: how do I know if I am affected?
What is intestinal polyps?
Polyps are growths that develop on the mucous membranes. We talk about intestinal polyps when these benign tumors form on the mucous membranes of the intestine. Their size varies from one case to another. In general, it is limited to a few millimeters.
Depending on their size and appearance, intestinal polyps can become cancerous and be responsible for the formation of colon cancer.
Risk factors are:
- Age: As you get older, the risk of having polyps increases
- family history: surveillance should be increased if one of the parents, siblings has had colorectal cancer.
- the presence of anterior polyps: if the patient has already had excrescences in the intestine, the risk of recurrence is noticeable. Supervision by a gastroenterologist must be regular.
Are there any symptoms?
Generally, polyps are not accompanied no symptoms, but some patients may be alerted by these signs:
- bleeding in the stool
- bleeding in the rectum
- rectal pain
- presence of mucus in the stool
From the age of 50, it is recommended to carry out a screening test. It is free and is done at home. It detects any bleeding in the stool or in the rectum. If the patient has risk factors, he is asked to talk to his GP or a gastroenterologist.
In case of symptoms or abnormal screening test, a medical exam is prescribed to check for the presence or absence of excrescences in the intestine. It can be performed by rectoscopy or colonoscopy. It consists in introducing by the anus an endoscope provided with a micro-camera which visualizes the interior of the intestine. If polyps are present, a tissue sample will check if the growths are benign or malignant. All examinations are performed under local or general anesthesia.
When a polyp is discovered, regular monitoring is set up by the medical team. Even if it is benign, it is advisable to remove it to reduce the risk that they take a cancerous form. What is called ablation can be done during colonoscopy.
Read also :
⋙ 6 misconceptions about colorectal cancer and screening
⋙ Diagnosed early, colorectal cancer can heal in 9 out of 10 cases
⋙ What are the different pathologies of the colon?