A sigmoid polyp is a mass of cells that grows in the sigmoid colon, which is the S-shaped part of the colon at the end of the gastrointestinal tract. A sigmoid polyp is regarded by doctors as a precancerous condition. In other words, it may become malignant, but it may not.
Although colon polyps don't always become cancerous, your physician is likely to advise removing them if you have them. Removal can be accomplished during a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a quick and simple procedure where a a specialist in gastroenterology is able to see the lining of the colon to be sure that it is healthy. The gastroenterologist uses a device called a colonoscope. This diagnostic tool is a a long tube with a miniature video camera connected to the front, giving the doctor a chance to see if there are any indications of cancer in the walls and the inside lining of the colon.
There are different types of sigmoid polyps. One kind is small and flat. This variety is called sedentary sigmoid polyps. But some of these masses look more like a mushroom with a stem, in which case they are known as pedunculated.
Some sigmoid polyps are small - as small as a pea. Others might be huge and can be the size of a golf ball. The ones are smaller and mushroom-shaped are less likely to become cancerous than the ones that that are flat and large. Typically, the larger that sigmoid polyp, the greater the chance that it will become cancerous.
Several well-established risk factors have been associated with sigmoid polyps, which include
* Aging - they are much more likely to occur after you reach age 50
* Smoking and using other tobacco products
* Eating a lot of low fiber, high fat foods
* Heredity and genetics - if a lot of your relatives have had sigmoid polyps, you're more likely to get them too
If you don't have a colonoscopy, you might never know that you have small sigmoid polyps because they don't present signs or indications. This is why is it important to have a colonoscopy as recommended by your doctor.
Signs and symptoms of large sigmoid polyps are possible. They could include
* A change in stool shape during bowel movements: they become more narrow
* Bowel movements that become uncomfortable or even painful
* Intestinal problems like diarrhea and constipation
Sigmoid polyps that are found early can generally be removed safely and altogether. The number one step is to establish whether a mass is malignant or not. Your surgeon can take a sample during a colonoscopy and have it analyzed.
There is no way to prevent sigmoid polyps from developing. But you can safely minimize your risk with lifestyle changes and regular screenings.
Stay fit by getting regular exercise and eat healthier food (especially high fiber types) decidedly help. Ensure you get adequate calcium because it helps protect you against cancer. Broccoli, kale and canned salmon are great sources of calcium. Vitamin D also appears to decrease your risk.
If you smoke, stop. If you consume too much alcohol, cut back.
A sigmoid polyp doesn't have to disturb you. The vital thing is to ascertain if you have sigmoid polyps or not, and to have them removed if you do.