by Editorial Staff And Contributors
Colon polyps are growths on the lining of the colon or rectum. The colon and the rectum are parts of the large intestine, which are parts of the digestive system.
The 2 most common kinds of polyps are:
The cause of most colon polyps is unknown. It may be partly due to hereditary factors.
There are certain genetic conditions, such as familial adenomatous polyposis and Peutz–Jeghers syndrome, which cause many polyps to form.
Risk Factors TOP
Colon polyps are more common in people over 50 years old. Other factors that may increase your chance of colon polyps include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
Images of your internal body structures may be done with a barium enema or an abdominal x-ray.
Depending on the size of the polyp, it may be removed. Large polyps are at high risk for becoming cancerous. They should be removed. Usually, polyps can be removed during colonoscopy.
If the polyps are very large, you may need to have surgery to have them removed. Your doctor may send the tissue from the removed polyps to be tested for cancer.
It’s not clear how polyps can be prevented. However, the following guidelines can help you stay healthy and may help prevent not only polyps, but also colon cancer:
American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Canadian Digestive Health Foundation
Colon polyps. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated April 30, 2012. Accessed July 12, 2013.
Colonoscopy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114112/Colonoscopy. Updated August 12, 2016. Accessed September 23, 2016.
Colorectal cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113642/Colorectal-cancer. Updated August 18, 2016. Accessed September 23, 2016.
Polyps of the colon and rectum. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.fascrs.org/patients/disease-condition/polyps-colon-and-rectum. Accessed July 12, 2013.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 5/11/2013
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.