What Causes Colon Polyps?

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The cause of colon polyps is unknown as of October 2014, according to Healthline and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. However, risks for developing colon polyps include having a family history of them, a history of ovarian or uterine cancer, having a high-fat and low-fiber diet and being 50 years of age or older.

Colon polyps form on the lining of the colon and are composed of extra tissue. The symptoms of colon polyps include rectal bleeding, bloody or black stools, iron deficiency, nausea and vomiting ,and abdominal pain. According to Mayo Clinic, many people with colon polyps often don’t experience any symptoms. Diagnosing colon polyps involves a colonoscopy, a CT scan of the colon and a flexible sigmoidoscopy. A physical exam and a stool test can also be used to diagnose colon polyps.

To treat colon polyps, doctors use a biopsy forceps to remove the polyps during a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy. An endoscopic mucosal resection is a procedure used for removing larger polyps. It isn’t known how to completely prevent colon polyps, but maintaining a healthy weight, eating more fruits and vegetables and exercising regularly can help. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse notes that research suggests that calcium and vitamin D may help prevent colon polyps.

Risk factors for developing colon polyps include being over 50 years old, having colon polyps before and having a family history of colon cancer or polyps, according to Healthline. Another risk factor for women is having uterine or ovarian cancer before the age of 50.