What Causes Colon Polyps?

Published November 19, 2021 by

Screening for colon cancer is an essential part of your health care as you reach your forties. One type of screening is a colonoscopy, and its purpose is to look for polyps inside your colon or rectum. If they are found, they are removed before they can turn into cancer. Patients often wonder why they get them. What causes colon polyps?

Origin Of Polypscolon polyps

Although polyps are found in 30% of the adult population over the age of 45 – 50, the truth is, doctors don’t really know what causes polyps to grow inside the colon or rectum. What they do know is there are certain risk factors which make their development more likely.

In addition, they know that polyps are abnormal tissue growths. Our body periodically develops new cells to replace old damaged ones which are no longer needed. This growth and development is usually regulated. However, sometimes new cells grow before they are needed, and this extra growth is the basis for polyp development.

What Makes Someone More Likely To Develop Polyps?

Anyone can get polyps, but some of us are more prone or at risk to develop them. Some of these reasons are genetic, or out of our control, while others are more akin to lifestyle choices.

Risk factors out of our control include our ethnicity. African Americans are more at risk for polyps. Other factors include being over 50, a personal history of colon cancer, a family history of colon cancer, having an inflammatory condition like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, uncontrolled diabetes, having uterine cancer before age 50, or having had ovarian cancer.

Next, let’s look at lifestyle issues we can change but which contribute to the risk of polyps.

They include the following:

  • Being overweight
  • Little to no exercise
  • Smoking
  • Consuming too much alcohol
  • Eating a high fat diet with excess red meat

If you want to reduce your risk of developing polyps and colon cancer, remove these risks from your life. In other words, stop being a couch potato who drinks and smokes too much! If that hurts your feelings, it’s nothing compared to getting colon cancer.

Assess your overall risk factors and decide what you can and cannot change.

Your physician can help you find programs to stop smoking or drink less alcohol as well as suggest dietary changes.

Contact GI Solutions at (773) 631-2728 if you want to schedule a colon screening, or if you need help reducing your risk factors for colon cancer.


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