Q:

What are the risk factors and causes of bowel (colonic) polyps?

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Quick Answer

Colon polyps are growths on the inner lining of the colon composed of abnormal cells caused by a genetic mutation, explains MedicineNet. Some of the risk factors of polyps include age, inflammatory intestinal disease, tobacco and alcohol use, obesity and a lack of exercise, explains Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Other risk factors include a family history of polyps, race and poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, notes Mayo Clinic. Rare genetic disorders can also cause polyps and include Lynch syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis, Gardner’s syndrome, MYH associated polyposis, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome and serrated polyposis syndrome.

Polyps are a very common colorectal condition and can be found in 15 to 20 percent of the population, according to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Most polyps are not cancerous, and are usually found in the rectum or throughout the large intestine. When a polyp is found on a colonoscopy, it is almost always removed because it is difficult to tell if it is malignant or has the potential to develop into cancer.

Some polyps do not cause any symptoms, and others can cause rectal bleeding, a change in the color of stool, a change in bowel habits, pain, nausea, vomiting or anemia, explains Mayo Clinic. It is important to see a medical professional when symptoms occur to check for the presence of polyps or any other colorectal condition.

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