Colorectal Polyps in Utah

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Colorectal polyps (otherwise known as colon polyps) are a common development. The label "colorectal" includes the colon as well as the rectum. Many health situations which impact the colon also affect the rectum, which is the reason they are almost always referenced together. A colorectal polyp is a polyp that occurs in either the colon or the rectum. A colon polyp is a growth consisting of a group of cells on the lining of the colon or rectum.

Polyps by themselves are primarily benign and typically don't result in symptoms; however, colon and rectal polyps should be addressed because they can, eventually, present as cancerous. In order to detect colorectal polyps, the gastroenterologists at Utah Gastroenterology regularly perform colonoscopy services. Please get in touch with our practice to book a colonoscopy in Utah.

Colorectal polyps are the result of cells splitting or growing at a faster rate than normal. The medical community remains without proof as to why this is the case, however, there are connections and risk factors that are common among people who present with colon or rectal polyps.

Risk factors for rectal polyps are:

  • Crohn's disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Genetic history
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • Being over 45 years of age
  • Having a personal or family history of colon or rectal polyps
  • "Typical Western diet" (high in fat, low in fiber)

Inherited genetic conditions can elevate a person's chance of contending with colorectal polyps. Such conditions could include:

  • Serrated polyposis syndrome
  • Gardner's syndrome
  • MYH-associated polyposis (MAP)
  • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
  • Lynch syndrome
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

Colorectal polyps don't often present obvious symptoms. If you are experiencing any signs, some of the most frequently experienced symptoms of colorectal polyps include:

  • Diarrhea (lasting in excess of a week)
  • Blood in the stool
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Exhaustion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation

If you are experiencing any combination of the previously mentioned symptoms, are 45 years of age or above, or have a family history of colorectal polyps or colon cancer and are in the Utah area, please get in touch with our office about colorectal cancer screenings.

Your gastroenterologist may identify a polyp in your colon during a routine colonoscopy, but you should know that polyps are usually benign (not cancerous). Polyps identified while undergoing a colonoscopy will typically be extracted during your colonoscopy (with an additional procedure called a polypectomy) and tested for indications of cancer. In the event that your colon polyps are determined to be benign, then your physician is likely to recommend routine colon cancer screenings going forward. If your polyp is found to be malignant (cancerous), you and your Utah Gastroenterology doctor will make a plan with the appropriate next steps.

The most common way to address colon polyps is by removing them. During the course of a colonoscopy (or flexible sigmoidoscopy), polyps in the rectum and colon can be removed in a procedure known as a polypectomy. In more serious situations, a part of or all of your rectum or colon may require removal.

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Are colon polyps a hereditary condition?

Carrying a familial history of colorectal polyps can raise your own risk of developing this condition. Certain types of polyps can carry a hereditary correlation and be more likely to occur among family members. Speak with your GI provider regarding your health and any family history with polyps to determine your risk and frequency of colon cancer testing.

Will colorectal polyps grow back after removal?

In general, it is rare for a colorectal polyp to return once it has been thoroughly extracted. However, some patients may have new polyps develop in other areas of the rectum or colon. Therefore, It is important to undergo routine screenings for colorectal cancer as your physician prescribes.

Can colon polyps be avoided?

You may not be able to keep colon polyps from occurring, especially if you carry a greater risk because of genetics. However, healthy lifestyle choices may help minimize the chance of colon or rectal polyps. This involves following a balanced diet, avoiding the use of tobacco, drinking alcohol in moderation, and getting plenty of exercise. Getting periodic colonoscopy exams upon turning 45 can also help reduce your risk.

How long does it take to recover following colon polyp removal?

In general, the majority of patients need around one week to recuperate following polyp removal during a colonoscopy. Our Utah Gastroenterology team will provide post-op information on what to expect during recovery and when you can return to your normal daily routine.

Colorectal polyps are usually found, excised, and assessed for cancerous traits during a routine colonoscopy appointment. The group of board-certified gastrointestinal specialists at Utah Gastroenterology works to deliver a patient-focused experience. To learn more about colon and rectal polyps and how they might be found and excised, we recommend that you contact our gastroenterology practice in Utah today.

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Dr. Frech has a superb bedside manner. He gave context and shared knowledge on the colonoscopy and put my worries to rest. In the end, 7 polyps were removed. If I hadn’t come in and been under his expertise, I might have had cancer in 5 years. The office process and personnel ran like clockwork but with care and concern.

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