All You Ever Wanted To Know About Polyps

What Are Polyps?

Polyps are growths in the bowel.

They can have a stalk, like a cauliflower, or be flat like moss. Polyps can cause bleeding or mucus in the stools, and on rare occasions it can cause bowel obstruction.  There are 2 types of polyps: malignant as well as benign polyps.

However, evidence suggests that polyps kept for a long time in the body can turn cancerous.

Hundreds of Polyps In The Bowel?
Polyp as seen on colonoscopy
Polyp as seen on colonoscopy

Yes, some patients have a rare condition called Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP).

Patients with this condition have hundreds of polyps in the bowel.

These patients have a risk of cancer approaching 100%, mostly before the age of 40 years. If you suffer from FAP, the best course of action is to remove the entire large bowel leaving the small bowel, preferably before it becomes cancerous.

Do I Have Polyps and If So, How Do I Get Rid of Them?

If you do not have any symptoms, we can screen you to see if you might have polyps using a test called Faecal Occult Blood test to see if there is any blood mixed in the stool.

If it is positive, you should have a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is the best way to find out if you have polyps or not.

If we find polyps during the colonoscopy examination, we can remove them with a special snare.

If you are on “blood thinning medicines” (Aspirin, Clopidogrel, Ticlodipine, Xarelto or Warfarin) you need to stop taking these medicines at least 5 days before removal of a polyp to avoid bleeding from the stalk afterwards.