You can have colon polyps and not know it, because they usually don't cause symptoms. They are most often found during routine screening tests for colorectal cancer. A screening test looks for signs of a disease when there are no symptoms.
If polyps are large or become cancerous, they can cause symptoms. You may have bleeding from your rectum or a change in your bowel habits. A change in bowel habits includes diarrhea, constipation, going to the bathroom more often or less often than usual, or a change in the way your stool looks.
Doctors often remove colon polyps because some of them can turn into colorectal cancer. Most polyps are removed during a colonoscopy. You may need to have surgery if you have a large polyp.
After removal, polyps are checked to find out if they are the kind that could become cancer. If cancer is found when the colon polyps are checked, you will begin treatment for colorectal cancer.
After you have had polyps, you have a higher chance of developing new polyps. If you have had polyps removed, it is important to have follow-up tests to look for more polyps. Talk to your doctor about how often you need to be tested.