Treatment for Colon Polyps

How do doctors treat colon polyps?

Doctors treat colon polyps by removing them.

In most cases, the doctor uses special tools to remove colon polyps during colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy. During some procedures, doctors may use a special method they call endoscopic mucosal resection to remove some larger polyps. In endoscopic mucosal resection, doctors inject a solution underneath the polyp or apply suction to lift the polyp away from the healthy colon tissue. Doctors then remove the polyp. After the doctor removes polyps, he or she sends them for testing. A pathologist will check the polyps for cancer. Doctors can remove almost all polyps without surgery.

If you have colon polyps, your doctor will ask you to have regular testing in the future because you have a higher chance of developing more polyps.

The lower GI tract includes the large intestine, anus, rectum, and colon. Doctors use a colonoscope to remove polyps from the colon.
The doctor uses special tools to remove colon polyps during colonoscopy

Seek Care Right Away

If you have any of the following symptoms after the removal of a colon polyp, you should call your doctor right away.

  • severe pain in your abdomen
  • fever
  • bloody bowel movements that do not improve
  • bleeding from your anus that does not stop
  • dizziness
  • weakness

How can I prevent colon polyps?

Researchers don't know of a sure way to prevent colon polyps. However, you can take steps to lower your chances of developing colon polyps.

Eating, diet, and nutrition

Eating, diet, and nutrition changes—such as eating more fruits, vegetables, and foods with vitamin D—may lower your chances of developing colon polyps.

Healthy lifestyle choices

You can make the following healthy lifestyle choices to help lower chances of colon polyps:

  • exercise most days of the week
  • don't smoke cigarettes, and if you smoke, quit smoking
  • avoid drinking alcohol
  • lose weight if you are overweight
Person walking a dog.

Aspirin

Taking a low dose of aspirin every day might help prevent polyps. However, taking aspirin daily may cause side effects, such as bleeding in your stomach or intestines. Talk with your doctor before starting to take aspirin daily.

November 2014
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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.