Posts for: March, 2020
Polyps are tiny cell clumps that develop inside the body. They could appear in different places, from the nose and ears down to the colon and stomach. It’s also immensely crucial to note that while polyps could develop into cancer, others don’t. In general, the difference is the polyp’s location, size, and the exact tissue that the polyp is made of. With this in mind, in this blog post, we’re focusing on colon polyps, which are growths that form within the colon. They can either be benign or noncancerous, or malignant or cancerous.
Here at the Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease, LLC, our gastroenterologists can examine your colon polyps through a colonoscopy. During a consultation at either one of our offices in Eagle River or Anchorage, AK, Dr. Daryl McClendon, Dr. Jeffrey Molloy, or Dr. Austin Nelson can evaluate your case and recommend the best treatment options available to you.
Understanding Colon Polyps
Colon polyps are small cell clumps that grow inside the colon’s lining. In most cases, these polyps are benign or noncancerous. Over time, however, certain colon polyps could progress into malignant or cancerous polyps that are usually life-threatening when not detected and treated early. Colon polyps can either be neoplastic or non-neoplastic.
Neoplastic colon polyps include the serrated types and adenomas, which could be cancerous. Non-neoplastic colon polyps, on the other hand, include hamartomatous, inflammatory polyps, and hyperplastic polyps, and these usually don’t become cancerous. The thing you need to remember about colon polyps is that the larger they are, the higher the risk of colon cancer, particularly with neoplastic types.
Polyps in the colon don’t always cause obvious symptoms. This is why it’s crucial to be regularly screened, as colon polyps can be removed completely and safely if they’re found while still in their earliest stages. Anyone could get colon polyps, so prevention via regular screenings and early diagnosis and treatment is extremely important.
When to Visit Your Gastroenterologist
Because colon polyps usually don’t cause easily detectable warning signs, you may not be aware that you have them until they’re detected during a checkup with your gastroenterologist. Visit your gastroenterologist either in out Eagle River or Anchorage, AK, office for a colonoscopy if you:
- See blood in your stools
- Are having abdominal pain
- Experience changes in your bowel habits that persist for more than one week
Additionally, you should receive regular screenings for colon polyps if you are over 50 years old and/or have a history of colon cancer in the family. Likewise, if you’re considered a high-risk individual, you should start getting regular screenings much earlier.
Take Control of Your Colon Health Now.
Schedule a colonoscopy with one of our gastroenterologists, Dr. Daryl McClendon, Dr. Jeffrey Molloy, or Dr. Austin Nelson, either in our Eagle River or Anchorage, AK, office. You can reach Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease, LLC, by calling (907) 569-1333.
A gastroenterologist is a doctor that specializes in preventing, diagnosing and treating a variety of disorders, conditions and problems that affect the esophagus, gallbladder, intestines, liver, stomach, colon, and rectum. In essence, a gastroenterologist will be able to provide treatment and care for any problems affecting your gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes you may choose to seek out a gastroenterologist yourself or your family physician may refer you to one.
A gastroenterologist can treat a variety of conditions and diseases that affect your intestinal or digestive tract. Some of these conditions include:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Celiac disease
- Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Stomach ulcers
- Liver diseases
- Colon polyps
Here are some instances in which you may benefit from seeing a gastroenterologist for care.
While this is a common problem that is often the result of a minor issue such as hemorrhoids or an anal fissure, it could also be a sign of a more serious issue. If rectal bleeding is severe, if it lasts for more than 2 or 3 days or if it’s accompanied by abdominal pain or fever it’s time to get it checked out.
While the occasional bout of heartburn can happen to any of us, especially after enjoying a spicy meal, if you find yourself dealing with frequent heartburn several times a week then this could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Since this condition can damage the lining of the esophagus, it’s important to see a GI doctor who can provide you with the proper medication and dietary changes to reduce heartburn symptoms.
Changes in bowel habits
If you are noticing chronic constipation that lasts for about one week or you experience diarrhea for more than a few days it’s important to see a gastroenterologist to determine the cause. Everything from a bacterial infection to food intolerances to digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease could be the cause.
You just turned 50 years old
By the time you reach 50 years old you should also schedule your first routine colorectal cancer screening, also known as a colonoscopy. This is the most effective tool our intestinal doctors have for being able to detect colorectal cancer early. Those patients at an increased risk for colorectal cancer may want to start coming in for routine screenings by the age of 45.
While abdominal pain has many causes if you notice that you experience pain frequently, especially after meals, or if bowel issues or nausea accompany your pain then this may also warrant seeing a gastroenterologist for testing.
From colorectal cancer to bowel problems, a gastroenterologist can provide you with the treatment and care you need for a healthy digestive tract. If you are experiencing any of the issues above a GI doctor can help you.