Colon polyps are growths on the lining of the colon or rectum. The colon and the rectum are parts of the large intestine.

The 2 most common types are:

  • Adenomatous—Precancerous and can become larger over time. They may or may not turn cancerous.
  • Hyperplastic—Don't get bigger and rarely turn into cancer.
Colon Polyp
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The cause of most colon polyps is unknown. It may be partly linked to your genes.

There are certain inherited conditions may cause polyps to form such as:

Risk Factors

Your chances of colon polyps are higher for:


Polyps don't cause problems in most people. They're often found during testing.

In those that have them, polyps may cause:


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:


A polyp may be taken out if it's big enough. Large polyps have the highest chance for growing into cancer. Usually, they can be removed when you're getting a scope.

Very large polyps may need to be taken out with surgery.


To help lower your chances of colon polyps:

  • Eat a high fiber diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables , and whole grains .
  • Lower your intake fats found in meats and dairy (full fat).
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you smoke, ask your doctor how to quit .
  • See your doctor for regular screenings after the age of 50.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Daus Mahnke, MD
  • Review Date: 05/2018 -
  • Update Date: 08/15/2018 -