Polyps are usually benign growths, tumors or protrusions in the mucous membrane. Polyps can grow in different parts of the body, but they are most commonly found in the intestines, nose and uterus. They range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters and should be removed. Polyps (growths) can degenerate over time and cause cancer.
What are polyps?
Polyps in the nose are often enlarged tonsils and are usually always benign. These nasal polyps can only be surgically removed in an operation if those affected suffer greatly from the symptoms. Polyps in the intestine are usually incidental findings that are usually found during preventive medical check-ups. See howsmb for Hollow Foot Definition and Meaning.
Colon polyps are protrusions in the lining of the intestine (mucosa). As long as these growths are benign, they are called adenomas. The polyps vary in shape, size, and number. They can be broad-based on the mucosa or have a polyp stalk. Adenomas usually grow at most 1 mm per year.
In the further course, a so-called carcinoma (malignant tumor) can develop from the benign adenoma. The proportion of intestinal polyps is over 90 percent and is one of the most common benign polyps (tumors).
Polyps can have a variety of causes. Proven reasons are infections caused by viruses or bacteria, diseases, eating habits and genetic defects.
In the case of nasal polyps, it has been observed that those affected often suffer from viral or bacterial inflammation. Asthmatics also have a higher incidence of polyps.
Diet plays a major role in colon polyps. An unbalanced diet with a high proportion of animal fats and a low proportion of dietary fiber promotes the development of polyps. Furthermore, studies have shown that smoking, alcohol and obesity are important factors in the development.
In certain hereditary diseases, such as Gardner’s syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis, Cowden’s and Turcot’s syndrome, intestinal polyps occur more frequently. In conjunction with these diseases, the risk of carcinoma (colon cancer) developing from benign polyps is greatly increased.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Nasal polyps often go unnoticed for a long time. If they increase in size or clog the sinuses, it can cause breathing difficulties. Those affected then show conspicuous mouth breathing and an increased susceptibility to infections. The permanent mouth breathing also dries out the oral mucosa, which can lead to bad breath and inflammation.
Those affected snore in their sleep and have a nasal voice. Since the polyps block the way to the olfactory cells, olfactory disorders can occur. If several polyps occur, the ability to smell comes to a complete standstill. Those affected also often suffer from migraine attacks and suffer from chronic fatigue.
In the long term, nasal polyps can lead to persistent sinus infections, which manifest themselves in headaches and pressure pain over the sinuses, among other things. In general, those affected often suffer from colds such as a cold or inflammation of the bronchi and sinuses. If the nasal polyps are not treated, further complications can arise.
In adults, there is a risk of chronic oxygen deficiency of the organs and the brain, which can result in neurological damage, among other things. In children, chronic polyps can cause deformities in the nose and eyes. This can lead to breathing difficulties, blurred vision and emotional problems.
Diagnosis & History
The polyps are diagnosed depending on the specialty. Polyps in the nose are usually diagnosed by an ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor. The nasal passages and sinuses are examined with the help of an otoscope and an endoscope. Furthermore, radiological examinations such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging are carried out.
The polyps in the intestine are diagnosed by the internist. In the case of polyps in the lower area of the rectum, an initial diagnosis is made by means of palpation. If a positive result is obtained during the rectal examination, a colonoscopy (colonoscopy) is usually carried out.
Colonoscopy provides a deep insight into the large intestine and the small intestine. Any polyps that are discovered can be removed during the examination using so-called gripping instruments and examined for malignancy (cancer).
The course of polyps can be assessed differently. Since polyps are benign to begin with, they usually do not cause any symptoms. Nasal polyps are removed with a minor surgical procedure, but there is a risk that they will grow back or grow again elsewhere.
In the case of intestinal polyps, the earlier they are discovered and removed, the better the prognosis. Over time, the polyps grow and, above a certain size, can constrict the intestine, which can lead to an intestinal blockage. Furthermore, the adenomas (benign polyps) can develop into a carcinoma in the further course.
Polyps are usually harmless and initially do not cause any symptoms. However, as the tumors grow, they can cause various complications. Nasal polyps can cause breathing problems and promote upper respiratory infections. This can lead to persistent infections such as bronchial asthma or chronic bronchitis.
In severe cases, the infection can spread to surrounding tissue and cause dangerous inflammation of the eye socket, meninges, and brain. Depending on their size and number, intestinal polyps can impair intestinal activity. Sometimes constipation, diarrhea and other digestive problems occur. When a colon polyp opens, it can cause bleeding, pain, and inflammation. On the other hand, polyps of the inner lining of the uterus are mostly harmless.
Only in extremely rare cases can these degenerate malignantly and form a tumor. With polyps on the tonsils there is a risk of sleep disorders, inflammation and an increased susceptibility to infections. This can be accompanied by pain, difficulty swallowing and other complications. Removing polyps can cause serious injury. In addition, wound healing disorders, pain, infections and visible scars and incisional hernias can occur. Prescribed drugs can cause the usual side effects and interactions.
When should you go to the doctor?
If swelling, ulcers or bulges form on the body, a doctor should be consulted. In the case of increasing growths, a feeling of tightness or disturbances in the heart rhythm, medical attention is required. If the symptoms persist, there are diseases that need to be diagnosed and treated. Although polyps are usually benign, serious disease must be ruled out and an assessment of general health is necessary. Restricted breathing is an alarming sign. If they persist or increase in intensity, a doctor is needed as soon as possible.
If you experience bad breath, headaches, insomnia, inner restlessness or a general feeling of illness, you should consult a doctor. Irregularities when touched, pressure pain or sensory disturbances must be examined and treated. Polyps can form anywhere on the body. Therefore, a doctor is needed as soon as eating disorders or locomotion irregularities occur.
If there are any abnormalities in the functions, special attention is required. Reduced vision, loss of physical and mental performance and a reduced sense of smell should be presented to a doctor. If you experience balance problems, skeletal deformities, breast tissue swelling, or digestive irregularities, you should see a doctor. Signs such as an increase in inflammation, increased body temperature and snoring should be discussed with a doctor.
Treatment & Therapy
Treatment for nasal polyps involves surgical removal of the growth. Very small growths can also be treated with a nasal spray, but the success rate is low. Daily use of saltwater nasal douches and cortisone sprays can prevent nasal polyps from recurring after long-term treatment.
Polyps in the intestine are also surgically removed, although this is usually done at the colonoscopy. The first-line treatment is immediate removal of the polyps followed by histological evaluation for malignancy.
If the polyps have already reached a size of several centimetres, an endoscopic removal is no longer possible, so that an operation under general anesthesia is necessary.
The treatment of polyps also includes an extensive follow-up examination. Regular colonoscopies (colonoscopies) must be carried out, especially in the presence of hereditary diseases and an already diagnosed colon carcinoma (colon cancer).
Currently there are no preventive measures against the development of polyps. In the case of intestinal polyps (this also applies to nasal polyps), one should – especially if there is a hereditary component – pay attention to a healthy diet, avoid smoking and alcohol and try to avoid being overweight with sufficient exercise.
Another preventative option is a so-called hemoccult test, which can be used to detect blood in the stool, which usually indicates bleeding polyps in the intestine. An annual colonoscopy is used for the early detection of polyps. Although it is not possible to prevent the development of polyps, it has been shown to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
A polyp can be a benign or malignant growth that often forms on the intestinal mucosa. Colloquially, enlarged tonsils are referred to as polyps. This definition is not medically correct, since such growths can also develop on other organs.
The type of aftercare depends on whether the polyps are benign or malignant. In general, polyps require regular follow-up checks because they can develop into malignant ulcers. Even if they are small, have been classified as benign, and cause no discomfort to the person affected, the polyps should be monitored by a doctor. Colon carcinoma was often preceded by mutated polyps or they favored its development.
Follow-up care for polyps is important in order to detect degeneration at an early stage. After surgical removal of (malignant) polyps, follow-up checks at regular intervals are also indicated. If benign new growths of a small size are discovered during a check-up, the specialist doctor often removes them himself. If the newly grown polyps are noticeably large or malignant, an operation is scheduled.
During follow-up care, it is also checked whether the polyps are causing inflammation. In this case, the family doctor prescribes anti-inflammatory drugs. As a follow-up measure, the healing of the affected tissue is initiated.
You can do that yourself
Diet should be optimized to prevent polyps. Foods that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the organism should be consumed more often. Magnesium and lemon are natural active ingredients that have a positive impact on the body when it comes to inflammation. Fresh products such as broccoli, spinach, brown algae or onions and garlic should be regularly included in meals so that the patient can adequately support his body in the fight against polyps. At the same time, an unhealthy, greasy and high-calorie diet should be avoided. Likewise, the consumption of harmful substances such as nicotine, alcohol or drugs should be avoided.
Good sleep hygiene is helpful. The conditions for a restful night’s sleep should be optimized so that the organism can regenerate sufficiently during rest periods. The body’s own immune system is thereby stabilized and can provide sufficient defenses when dealing with possible pathogens.
The disease occurs more frequently in people with an unhealthy lifestyle. Therefore, it is important to reduce stressors. Overall well-being should be promoted and medication should only be taken in consultation with a doctor. In the case of nasal polyps, regular steam inhalations can be carried out in everyday life to relieve the symptoms. Deep breathing exercises are also helpful. Colon polyps are minimized in a natural way through a healthy lifestyle.