What is an inflammatory polyp?

An inflammatory polyp is a bulge that extends from the intestinal wall in the human digestive system. In almost all cases, inflammatory polyps are not harmful, although they can be painful. Such polyps often go undiagnosed. Even when someone knows they have an inflammatory polyp, the best course of action may be to leave them alone unless the polyp starts causing problems.

All inflammatory polyps have the same basic appearance, although they sometimes resemble other polyps or growths on initial observation. Polyps are elongated growths. They come out of the wall of the bowels of the colon. An inflammatory polyp has a rounded head, which is usually the widest portion of the polyp.

If a polyp becomes inflamed, it will have a whitish appearance. The white may be only in a few spots, or it may cover the entire polyp. This discoloration is pus, the buildup of white blood cells that fight the swelling of the polyp, leaving the polyp behind. While the idea of ​​draining pus is not a pleasant one, the process is not harmful either. In fact, drainage can help the polyp get better over time, and people with these drainage polyps are usually not aware of what is happening.

Few people who have inflammatory polyps know they have them unless a doctor finds the growths during a colonoscopy and tells the patient. A colonoscopy is a medical test in which a doctor inserts a small camera tube into the rectum to view the intestines. Doctors can find polyps throughout the intestinal tract, but unless the polyps are causing blockages, the doctor is unlikely to do anything about it. Most doctors simply record the location and size of the polyps and monitor them for changes at future colonoscopies.

An inflammatory polyp is not a tumor and should not affect patients. These growths do not become malignant and can remain unchanged for a long time. Polyps themselves are harmless, although patients may be concerned about them. While polyps themselves usually don't cause any problems, doctors can use their presence to confirm any suspected bowel or intestinal disorders, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Almost everyone with one of these diseases will have at least one inflammatory polyp, although polyps can remain dormant for many years before disappearing on their own.

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