The lining of the intestine is normally as smooth as the inside lining of your mouth. An outgrowth of tissue from the lining of the intestine is referred to as an intestinal polyp.
Polyps may grow out of the lining of the small and/or large intestine or stomach. Most commonly, polyps are shaped like a mushroom, with a narrow stalk that connects the bulkier end to the intestinal wall. The size of polyps may vary from under two mm to over one inch in diameter. There are two general types of polyps including adenomatous and hamartomatous polyps. The type of polyp is based on what the appearance is under the microscope. Adenomatous polyps are typically the type of polyp seen in adults and these need to be evaluated for possible malignant (CANCEROUS ) change. Hamartomatous polyps are the type of polyp usually found in children and these rarely pose a concern of malignancy.
How common are they?
A polyp may be found in the large intestine in about 1-2 percent of children. The most common type of polyp is a juvenile polyp accounting for more than 95 percent of polyps found in children. These are mostly found in children under 10 years old, and especially in those 2-6 years of age. The majority of juvenile polyps are solitary (1-5 polyps) and are found mostly in the let side of the colon.
Some have multiple polyps including familial adenomatous polyposis, juvenile polyposis syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, and Cowden disease.
What are the symptoms of polyps?
Children with polyps usually pass painless blood in the stools. Children can develop iron-deficiency anemia and have symptoms of this. Bleeding may not happen with every bowel movement, and tends to recur over weeks to months.
How is the diagnosis made?
Colonoscopy is used to diagnose a polyp, removed with the use a small grasping instrument that fits inside the colonoscope to grab the entire polyp and remove it. The gastroenterologist will look at the entire large intestine with the colonoscope to make sure there are no other polyps. Usually, all polyps are removed (unless there are very many or it is unsafe to do so).