Intestinal polyps or adenomas can arise in the intestinal mucosa. They are benign bumps that usually do not get bigger than a few millimeters. Only rarely do they reach the size of a few centimeters. Although intestinal polyps are initially not dangerous, they should be examined and treated by the doctor, because they can also become malignant as growths of the glandular tissue. Complaints usually occur only when the intestinal polyps have reached a certain size.

What are intestinal polyps?

In most intestinal polyps sufferers feel no complaints or symptoms. Only when the polyps are of a larger size can complaints occur.
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Colon polyps, also called adenomas, are among the benign intestinal mucosal protrusions. They can be millimeter-sized or centimeter-sized and among all tumors with 90% of the benign tumors. If intestinal polyps have developed, in most cases the glandular tissue is overgrown and continues to grow slowly as a tumor.

Colon polyps, which continue to grow and become larger over many years, can turn into malignant tumors. Intestinal polyps may occur singly or in several and are variously attached to the intestinal mucosa.

The growth rate of benign adenomas is very slow with a maximum of one millimeter. Beyond a certain size, colon polyps can become malignant carcinomas if they are not removed.

causes

Various causes are responsible for the development of intestinal polyps, including heredity. In addition, diet is a major cause of intestinal polyps, especially in industrialized countries, where they are distributed accordingly. Too many animal fats (meat, sausage) and too little fiber, obesity, nicotine and alcohol promote the development of intestinal polyps.

If the intestinal polyps are hereditary, then polyposis, the Gardner, the Cowden and the Peutz-Jeghers syndrome are considered causes. Polyposis is a familial adenomatous disease based on a genetic defect. Colon polyps, which are caused by the Gardner syndrome, find their cause also in a gene defect and in these cases trigger colon cancer in almost all cases.

Intestinal polyps and increased brown spots on the extremities and in the mouth are signs of the cause of Peutz-Jeghers syndrome. Intestinal polyps are hereditary in Cowden syndrome and often occur in connection with thyroid and breast cancer.

Symptoms, complaints & signs

In most intestinal polyps sufferers feel no complaints or symptoms. Only when the polyps are of a larger size can complaints occur. Larger intestinal polyps interfere with intestinal activity, causing stool irregularities. Typical are diarrhea and constipation, often accompanied by abdominal pain and cramps in the abdomen.

Intestinal polyps are occasionally noticeable by bloody or slimy secretions in the stool. The stool will then turn black or show other unusual signs. Thus, it may be mushy or even fluid in the later stages, if the intestinal polyps restrain parts of the stool or prevent proper digestion.

Intestinal polyps can also cause a feeling of pressure in the intestine. This is especially noticeable after larger meals and at night. In the long term, intestinal polyps may develop into colon cancer. If this is the case, it can be noticed by those affected by the unusual chair behavior and a number of other symptoms.

This leads to severe abdominal pain and cramps, which are accompanied by an increasing sense of illness. Most sufferers lose weight and feel unwell overall. To avoid such a severe course, a specialist should be consulted at the first sign of intestinal polyps.

diagnosis

Intestinal polyps are initially completely unremarkable. Therefore, as you grow older, an intestinal examination can reveal if colon polyps are present. People who suffer from diarrhea, constipation or more often have abdominal pain should undergo bowel examinations, as this may be evidence of intestinal polyps.

If blood and mucus are noticed in the stool or the stool is stained black, these may also be signs of intestinal polyps. Intestinal polyps grow invisibly and occur more frequently after the age of 50, with women being less affected by the intestinal polyps than men. Therefore, preventive examinations have been introduced in Germany, which start as a rectal examination with the finger. With blood in the stool can be clarified with a Hämoccult test, whether the cause intestinal polyps are.

complications

Intestinal polyps are benign growths in the intestinal mucosa, which initially cause no health problems and are usually discovered during the check-up. They grow over a longer period without recognizable symptoms. Frequently, patients complain of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

In the course of the disease, colon polyps may be associated with various complications. Above a certain size, intestinal polyps affect the intestine and its associated functions. It comes to obstructing the passage of the stool, which can cause intestinal obstruction. When intestinal polyps bleed, constant blood loss leads to anemia and associated dizziness.

There are stool irregularities such as constipation, diarrhea and blood and mucus in bowel movements. As a result, electrolytes and proteins are lost. The chair can also be colored black. The biggest health hazard is that colon polyps can degenerate into malignant carcinomas at a certain size. However, this risk does not occur in non-hereditary polyps above a certain size and a longer growth.

Genetically caused intestinal polyps are generally at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. Intestinal polyps are actually benign intestinal tumors, which usually cause only minor discomfort, as long as they do not persist for a longer period of time. Therefore, the prognosis is positive in most cases. However, if intestinal polyps remain untreated, there is an increased risk of developing colon cancer.

When should you go to the doctor?

The symptoms of intestinal polyps are very low or in many cases not present. Since their presence is often discovered by accident, there are few concrete indications that suggest them.

In general, a visit to the doctor is necessary as soon as there are intestinal complaints that occur over several days and can not be explained by other illnesses. If symptoms of diarrhea appear, if constipation occurs, or if the bowel movement is altered, a doctor should be consulted.

If bleeding, a feeling of pressure in the abdomen or a general malaise, a doctor's visit should be made. If there are unusual discomforts in sexual practices such as anal sex, this is a cause for concern that should be clarified by a doctor. If it comes to swelling in the abdomen or a feeling of thickening, a doctor's visit is necessary.

Since intestinal polyps often occur in conjunction with diseases such as colorectal cancer, check-ups should be carried out as early as possible in the event of existing complaints. In addition, from the age of 50, it is advisable to take regular check-ups to prevent cancer, so that early detection can take place.

If a black-brown discolored bowel movement occurs repeatedly, it must be examined by a doctor. If it comes to disorders of digestion, a feeling of fullness or unfamiliar intestinal sounds, a doctor's visit is also advisable.

Treatment & Therapy

Intestinal polyps are diagnosed with colonoscopy and if they are larger than 5 millimeters, during the colonoscopy already painlessly removed. For this purpose, an endoscope is used through which a small loop can be guided, with the help of intestinal polyps is separated from the intestinal mucosa. Subsequently, the tissue of the intestinal polyps is examined for safety in order to exclude malignant tumors.

In the case of hereditary intestinal polyps and in large intestinal polyps surgery is used instead of endoscopy. Once colon polyps have been detected and removed, colon polyps are likely to be re-established after a few years. In this respect, the therapy of intestinal polyps is the factor diet, which promotes the development of intestinal polyps.

In the case of intestinal polyp formation, the patient himself can do a great deal to prevent further intestinal tumors from developing. A healthy and balanced diet ensures that intestinal polyps do not even arise.

Outlook & Forecast

Normally, the intestinal polyps have a good prognosis. If they are recognized in good time and removed from the intestine, recovery and subsequent freedom from symptoms occur within a few days. Shortly after the procedure, sterile wound care is of particular importance, as germs can enter the organism via the open areas.

The ablation site of the intestinal polyps bleeds and must be specially protected so that no secondary diseases occur. The intestinal polyps can re-educate themselves at any time. Therefore, regular checkups are important for maintaining good health. Six months after removal of the intestinal polyps, the first hemoccult test is performed. Once it is without findings, a re-test is performed every three years for control purposes.

In the manifestation of new intestinal polyps at a premature removal is again given a good prognosis. The prospect of a favorable course changes as soon as the intestinal polyps go undetected and remain in the intestine for several years.

After about 5-10 years, polyps can mutate in the gut. They change from a benign intestinal tumor in many patients into a malignant tumor. This is a life-threatening condition for the person affected. The risk of colorectal cancer increases with the size of the polyp. This is promoted with an unhealthy diet.

aftercare

If the intestinal polyps have been completely removed, it is advisable to follow-up polyps according to the individual risk of the patient (concomitant diseases, diverticulosis, familial stress, histological examination). For example, if small, non-neoplastic polyps have been removed, a control colonoscopy is recommended every ten years, and three to ten polyps removed should have a follow-up visit after three years.

If more than 10 polyps have been removed, they are first closely monitored every two to six months, followed by a colonoscopy every three to five years. The purpose of the follow-up examinations is to identify and regain growth as early as possible. If symptoms such as changes in bowel movements, blood in the stool, pain or weight loss occur between the polyp aftercare, a doctor must be consulted immediately.

In the normal case, the patients are informed by the attending physician after removal of the polyps about measures or therapies carried out or about which therapies continue to appear necessary. Further check-ups and follow-up examinations can then be arranged with a resident gastroenterologist near the place of residence. In addition, a follow-up examination provides the opportunity to address any problems or questions to a specialist.

You can do that yourself

A healthy diet and lifestyle have a positive influence on the development and frequency of intestinal polyps. The meals should be balanced and rich in fiber. It is helpful if the intake of unnecessary fats or irritants, such as chilli or spicy additives, is avoided.

In addition, intake of toxins such as nicotine or alcohol should be avoided. Sufficient rest, stress reduction, regular sports activities and a vitamin-rich diet are conducive to a strengthened immune system. This minimizes any discomfort and the healing process is supported.

In addition, with a stable immune system, the likelihood of intestinal polyps can be reduced. For a good well-being of the intestine purifications can be carried out at longer intervals. Between meals, the intestine should always be given the time for the processing process. This has a positive influence on the intestinal flora and thus optimizes the intestinal activity.

People who are overweight can reduce their own weight by switching to food, thereby simultaneously improving their own well-being. At the first sign of problems with the intestine, a doctor should be consulted. The polyps are only detectable during a colonoscopy, so it is helpful if the way to a physician is sought early. This prevents timely propagation in an uncontrolled manner.

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