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Intestinal polyps

What are intestinal polyps?

Intestinal polyps are outgrowths on the intestinal mucosa, and thus localized on the inner (luminal) side of the bowel. Polyps most often have a stalk (see picture). A small proportion is broad-based (no stalk).

Intestinal Polyps are very common and can be found in approx. 20% of all adults. At age 60, half of all humans have intestinal polyps.

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What are the symptoms of intestinal polyps?

Most polyps do not produce any symptoms and are usually detected by coincidence when looking for other intestinal disorders or as a result of screening programs. Some polyps can cause bleeding, mucus secretion and altered bowel movements.

Is it necessary to treat / remove intestinal polyps?

The vast majority of intestinal polyps are completely benign, but a small portion of intestinal polyps can become malignant and result in bowel cancer. Nearly all bowel cancers arise from polyps. Unfortunately you cannot distinguish between intestinal polyps that remain benign or become malignant. Therefore all polyps should be removed.

Can intestinal polyps recur and do I need another endoscopy?

Yes, intestinal polyps tend to recur. For one third, new polyps develop within 3 years, which is why regular endoscopy is recommended based on the type and number of polyps. The doctor who performs the endoscopy will decide when to do the control-endoscopy.