Polyps in the Gastrointestinal Tract

An intestinal polyp is a growth of tissue in a small rounded form on the lining of the intestines. Polyps may be either very tiny or larger (up to an inch in diameter). Polyps can be found in almost any part of the gastrointestinal tract, although they are the most commonly found in the colon. It is not known what causes polyps to develop. Children will most likely have hypertrophic or benign polyps. However, they may develop polyps which may be cancerous.

Some people are more likely to develop polyps than others, especially if family members have had polyps (genetic). Other people may have a condition known as familial polyposis syndrome (FAP) in which the intestine contains several polyps throughout the colon. The polyps in people with this syndrome are more likely to be cancerous. Typically though, polyps are not cancerous and can be easily removed.


Frequently, people with polyps do not experience symptoms. Others may experience:

  • Blood in stool
  • Anemia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea with mucus
  • Intussusception


An upper endoscopy and/or colonoscopy are the most accurate way to detect and remove polyps, and recommended as the best screening method to check the GI tract for polyps. If the doctor sees any polyps, they can be easily removed. Your doctor may also have a capsule endoscopy done that can find polyps in the small bowel.


If the doctor finds a polyp during the either of the procedures, a small instrument is used to remove the polyp from the lining of the intestine polypectomy. The tissue will then be sent to the lab to be checked for abnormalities.

Polyps seen in Child with Familial Polyposis

Polyps found in the stomach

Large hyperplastic pyloric polyp

Small bowel hamartoma polyp

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