What are polyps?
- The most usual types of polyps are:
- Colorectal and
- The polyps are usually non-cancerous and require no treatment.
- For treating a polyp or polyps, your doctor may suggest you to undergo a therapy or get it or them eliminated.
Polyps are unusual growth of tissues that appear to be a mushroom-like stalking figures or flat bumps. Most polyps are tiny and less than 1 mm.
Polyps are mostly found in the colon. But they may develop at any place, like:
Most polyps are non-cancerous (benign). But as they appear owing to the irregular growth of cells, they may ultimately turn cancerous or malignant. For ascertaining their malignancy, your doctor may like doing a biopsy. It entails taking a small section of the tissue and examining it for the presence of any malignant element.
The polyp treatment may depend on the size, location and their nature (malignant or benign).
What are the symptoms of polyps?
Every kind of polyps causes distinct symptoms depending on their location. Some usual polyp kinds, locations, and their symptoms are listed below.
|Kind of Polyps||Location||Symptoms|
|Throat||Vocal cords||Breathy and hoarse voice that keeps building over a period of days to many weeks|
|Aural||Ear canal||Hearing loss and oozing blood from your ears|
|Endometrial||Uterus||Irregular Menstruation, Bleeding from the vagina and, on top of all, infertility|
|Nasal||Nose, sinuses||Losing smell, pain in the nose, headaches and usual cold like symptoms|
|Gastric||Stomach & its lining||Bleeding, nausea, vomiting, pain and tenderness|
|Cervical||Cervix of the uterus where it gets connected to the vagina||Usually no symptoms, but you may experience heavy bleeding during menstruation, sexual activity or abnormal discharge|
|Bladder||Lining of the bladder||Recurrent and painful urination, blood along with urine|
|Colon or colorectal||Rectum, colon and large intestine||Diarrhea, Abdominal pain, constipation and blood in stool|
Mostly, colon polyps are found to be benign and do not show symptoms until reaching their advanced stages. But similar to gastric polyps, they may develop and become malignant.
What causes polyps?
The polyps’ causes differ as per their location. For instance, polyps in the throat usually develop because of loudly shouting or a damaged breathing tube. At times, the doctors are unable to ascertain the cause of developing polyps.
- Certain acknowledged reasons are:
- Excessive estrogen in the blood
- Developing a Cyst or
- A tumor
- Persistent inflammation in stomach
- A foreign element
- Change of genes in the colon tissues
Similar to the development of cancer cells, polyps develop very fast through the division of cells. That is why they, sometimes, become malignant, although mostly polyps are found to be benign growths.
The risk factors of developing polyps
Both males and females, who happen to be habitual smokers, run a greater risk of developing polyps in their bladder. The females over the age of 40 and those have had babies are most likely to grow polyps in their uterus.
- Cervical polyps
- Aural polyps
Those who in the habit of straining their vocal cords or having an acid reflux run a higher risk of developing polyps in their throats. If there are more risk factors, they remain unknown.
It is advised to seek the best advice from your doctor for any particular risk of developing a precise type of polyps.
- Colon polyps
Those in the habit of eating a low-fiber and fat-rich are found to be prone to developing colon polyps. The other risk factors are:
- Having a genetic history of colon polyps
- Use of alcohol and tobacco (smoking)
- Afflicted with inflammation of the intestines, such as Crohn’s ailment
- Type-II diabetes
- Americans having an African origin run a greater risk of growing colon polyps
- Stomach polyps
The risk of developing stomach polyps becomes higher:
- Growing age — usually during the middle or old age
- Afflicted with stomach infections because of bacteria
- FAP (familial adenomatous polyposis) is an unusual genetic syndrome
- Those prone to using proton pump inhibitors, like Protonix, Prilosec or Nexium
- Nasal polyps
Those placed in the following circumstances run a higher risk of developing nasal polyps:
- Unending infection in the sinus
- In case you happen to be sensitive to using aspirin
- Cystic fibrosis
- Afflicted with Asthma
Diagnosis of polyps
Your treating doctor may do your physical examination and seek answers to his or her questions related to the symptoms and your medical history. In case your doctor is doubtful of polyps, he or she may ask you undergo a CT scan, ultrasound or the X-rays for viewing the suspected areas to evaluate the presence of polyps and their size.
If the presence of polyps is confirmed, your doctor may like performing a biopsy to ascertain whether there is a malignancy in them.
Based on the location of the polyps, the doctor may use variable procedures for taking their sample. They are:
- A Pap smear screening for ascertaining the presence of polyps in the cervix and vagina
- A mirror holding in the rear of your mouth for examining your vocal cords.
- An endoscopy or esophagogastroduodenoscopy for examining your stomach and the small bowel
- A colonoscopy for ascertaining the presence of polyps in the large intestine
- Microscopic biopsy analysis of the samples collected from the areas that are easily accessible
Treatment of Polyps
Not all the polyps need to be treated. Some are harmless and disappear with the passage of time. Those found to be suspiciously endangered by cancer are eliminated surgically.
There are many factors detrimental to the treatment of polyps. They are:
- The location of polyps
- The number of polyps
- The size of the polyps
- If they are benign or malignant
As for colorectal polyps, the doctor may like removing them in a colonoscopy procedure. In the colonoscopy procedure, a thin tube fitted with a camera is used for viewing inside your large intestine and your rectum.
Your treating doctor may stipulate using progestin (synthetic progesterone) and Gn-RH (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists) for treating uterine, cervical or other polyps that are related to hormones. These medications will help in generating more hormones in your body for shrinking or reducing the presence of polyps.
Corticosteroid and nasal steroids may help in treating the nasal polyps.
Your treating doctor may prefer using the lesser invasive curing methods before intervening surgically becomes imperative.
Your future condition with polyps
Your treating doctor may like to discuss with you your future condition of polyps and, moreover, your overall health. Your condition will solely depend on the kind of your polyps. If they found to be malignant, you care to worry about your overall physical condition. Benign polyps generally are not worrisome, but your doctor may like eliminating them for being on a safer side for avoiding future complications.
Once removed, there are bleak chances of polyps reappearing except for colon polyps, which often resurrect among 30 percent of individuals. In such cases, your doctor may suggest you to go in the follow-up process for about 3-5 years.
Prevention of polyps
All kinds of polyps are not preventable. Certain polyps, like uterine and nasal polyps are inescapable.
But leading a disciplined lifestyle may help in reducing the risks of growing colon polyps and can reduce the risk of developing colon polyps and decreasing the chances of developing colorectal cancer.
The precautionary steps are:
- Eating a healthy diet inclusive of whole grain cereals, fruits and green vegetables.
- Restrictive use of alcohol
- Saying goodbye to smoking and other tobacco products
- Maintaining a balanced and healthy weight by regular exercises.
Be advised to consult your doctor for more steps, in case you run a family history of developing polyps
Points to ponder
Polyps showing no symptoms and benign polyps generally do not need any treatment or intervention unless they are hampering your routine activities. Your doctor may like to keep an eye by regularly monitoring the polyps so that they do not generate further. Your doctor may like to suggest you as to when you require a surgery, if any, for eliminating the polyps.
If you are too much worried about polyps:
- You may discuss with your doctor about your genetic history of developing polyps.
- Keep your doctor updated about your old tests and other examinations for polyps, if any.
- Be advised to follow up with your treating doctor in case you got your polyps removed and ensure that there are no remains left.
- Educate yourself with the symptoms and signs of polyps and look for their treatment as and when they appear.