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Side Effects of Colon Polyp Removal

written by: CatNorth • edited by: BStone • updated: 3/22/2011

Colon cancer afflicts thousands of Americans, but with early detection, it’s one of the most avoidable forms of cancer. A colonoscopy can detect polyps that may lead to cancer, and removal of polyps often prevents cancer from developing. Understand colon polyp removal side effects after surgery.

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    Overview

    What’s normally referred to as colorectal cancer includes both colon cancer and rectal cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that the number of new colorectal cancer cases in the United States will be 101,700 for colon cancer and 39,510 for rectal cancer during 2011.1 Colon cancer affects the large intestine, or colon, which is the lower part of the digestive system, and rectal cancer affects the last several inches of the colon, according to Mayo Clinic.2 What normally begins as noncancerous polyps in the colon can turn into colon cancer. Identifying and removing polyps can often prevent cases of full-blown colon cancer. Screening and early detection of colon cancer can prevent unnecessary suffering or death, but it’s important to prepare for colon polyp removal side effects.

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    Bloating and Swelling

    It’s quite common to experience bloating and swelling after colon polyp removal, but typically these side effects go away after an hour or so and once air is expelled, according to Jackson-Siegelbaum Gastroenterology. 3 These symptoms often occur with or without polyp removal after a colonoscopy.

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    Excessive Bleeding

    Serious side effects, such as excessive bleeding, are quite uncommon. Excessive bleeding can occur after a very large polyp has been removed, especially if a tear in the colon lining occurs. Excessive bleeding might require hospitalization, and sometimes it can lead to surgery, says Jackson-Siegelbaum Gastroenterology. 3

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    Medication

    Make sure you plan to have someone drive you home after polyp removal or a colonoscopy without polyp removal. During the procedure, sedatives are often given to patients that prevent them from driving or operating machinery after the exam or polyp removal.

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    Surgery Recovery

    If you have surgery for colon polyp removal, you are required to follow certain guidelines afterwards.

    For the first few days, you must follow a liquid diet that includes nutritional supplements, such as vitamins, according to the Colon Cancer Resource website.4 The colon after surgery needs healing time before it can perform normal processes again. You may also experience draining from the incision.

    You can begin eating low-fat and low-fiber meals after one week has passed since your surgery, according to Colon Cancer Resource.4

    After a few weeks, colon polyp removal side effects are typically gone, and you can start following a normal diet and begin exercising again, says Colon Cancer Resource.4 Remember that each person heals at a different pace however.

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    Self-care

    Visit your healthcare provider once a year for a health check and inquire about colon cancer screening whether or not you believe you’re at risk for colon cancer. In the early stages of colon cancer, there may be no symptoms at all. If you’ve had a close relative with colorectal cancer, your chances increase for getting the disease. If an immediate family member has had colorectal cancer or polyps, check with your doctor about getting routine colonoscopies as you are at greater risk for colon cancer.

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    References

    1. The American Cancer Society: Colorectal Cancer Early Detection
      http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/ColonandRectumCancer/MoreInformation/ColonandRectumCancerEarlyDetection/colorectal-cancer-early-detection-importance-of-c-r-c-screening
    2. Mayo Clinic: Colon Cancer
      http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/colon-cancer/DS00035
    3. Jackson-Siegelbaum Gastroenterology: Colonoscopy
      http://www.gicare.com/
    4. Colon Cancer Resource: Recovery from Colon Surgery
      http://www.coloncancerresource.com/recovery-from-colon-surgery.html