A polyp is a growth, generally developed at the expense of the mucous membranes, such as the colon, rectum, uterus, vagina, nose, sinuses, bladder, small intestine, vocal cords or the external auditory canal. It is usually a benign tumor in which one part is connected to the wall where it develops, called the pedicle, and the rest of which projects into a natural cavity. It can be single or multiple, in which case it is called polyposis disease. Polyps are often benign, but some can be precancerous.
Symptoms related to polyps depend on the area where they grow and are highly polymorphic. They include:
- voice changes in the event of infringement of the vocal cords;
- bowel dysfunction (diarrhea or constipation) in the case of colorectal polyps;
- a tendency for allergic rhinitis or sinusitis in the case of nasal polyps of the sinus mucosa;
- urinary symptoms in cases of bladder polyps;
- uterine bleeding in cases of endometrial polyps, related to uterine wall.
The diagnosis of a polyp depends on its location. Polyps of the colon and rectum are highlighted by the use of a colonoscopy
as a routine in the early detection of colorectal cancer
. In the presence of risk factors or if blood is found, stools analyses will be systematically offered every two years after the age 50. If there are suspected polyps in the uterus or bladder, these bodies will be analyzed by endoscopy. If they are suspected in the vocal cords, a doctor uses a laryngoscopy.
Colorectal polyps can be treated if they are suspected to be degenerative with a simple surgery: a polypectomy. A doctor who specializes in the study of tissues, a pathologist, will then analyze the polyps. Polyps in this area tend to recur, so they require increased surveillance. These interventions will be made after an endoscopy, which allows them to be located. Other types of polyps may also be removed and analyzed.
It is possible to prevent the occurrence of polyps, especially in the gastrointestinal tract, and by adopting a healthy lifestyle. It is therefore necessary to control weight, because obesity and overweightness are factors favoring the appearance of polyps. Avoid smoking, alcohol abuse and animal fats. One should also opt for a diet rich in fiber and calcium. Tobacco and alcohol favor the occurrence of vocal cord polyps.
The prevention of other types of polyps is less obvious and challenged.
Original article published by
. Translated by Jeff