What are colon polyps?

A colon polyp is a growth that forms on the lining of your colon (large intestine) or rectum. Most colon polyps are painless and harmless, and produce no symptoms. Because of this, however, polyps that are cancerous can go undetected for many years. Colon polyps are usually discovered during a routine colonoscopy (colon examination), which is recommended for anyone beginning at age 50 and up to age 75.

If you have a history of colorectal cancer in your family or any other disease or condition that makes you more susceptible to having it, your doctor may recommend screening at a younger age. Treatment, when polyps are found early, is often successful.

Symptoms of colon polyps

While some people don’t have any symptoms of colon polyps, others may experience things such as:

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Blood in your stool (bowel movement)
  • Constipation lasting more than a week
  • Crampy, abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea lasting more than a week

Not all symptoms mean that you have colon polyps. Specific tests can determine why you’re having symptoms and whether a colon polyp or some other condition is the cause.

Diagnosis and testing for colon polyps

Getting regular checkups and screenings as advised by your doctor is the best way to prevent and detect problems related to colon polyps. Diagnosing colon polyps involves removing the polyp during a colonoscopy and having it tested for cancerous cells.



Main Line Health gastroenterology works to resolve digestive issues and GI conditions. Find the right solution for your digestive conditions at one of our Philadelphia locations.