A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Polyps
I had a question the other day about polyps.
Polyps are benign (noncancerous) growths of various sizes found on stalk-like structures growing from the epithelial lining of your large intestine, cervix, bladder, nose, or other body structures.
They’re most common in your rectum and sigmoid colon, and usually occur in groups.
Most polyps of the colon and/or rectum cause no symptoms and are discovered only during routine physical examinations or during treatment of other disorders.
If they’re very large, however, they may cause rectal bleeding, cramping, or abdominal pain.
The relationship between polyps and cancer isn’t fully understood.
Some physicians believe most colon cancers begin as polyps.
However, most polyps probably don’t turn into cancer.
On the other hand, it’s true many people with a cancerous growth in their colon also have multiple polyps surrounding the growth, and it does appear the larger a polyp grows, the greater the chance it’ll become malignant.
Familial polyposis is a hereditary disease where lots of growths (100 or more) develop in your colon.
If removed, they grow back.
Rectal bleeding and mucous drainage are common symptoms.
This disorder is more closely linked to cancer than ordinary polyps are; unless treated, it usually always leads to colon cancer.
Cervical polyps line the inside of the cervix, the passage from the vagina into the uterus.
Symptoms of cervical polyps include a heavy, watery, bloody discharge from the vagina.
Bleeding may happen after sexual intercourse, between periods, and after menopause.
The growth of cervical polyps may be caused by infection, injury to the cervix, or hormonal changes during pregnancy.
Polyps are more common in women who haven’t had children.
Women with diabetes also have a higher than normal chance of developing polyps.
A Pap smear may or may not detect cervical polyps.
They rarely return once removed.
Bladder polyps produce blood in your urine.
Unless they’re removed, cancer of the bladder may follow.
Nasal polyps usually form in the back of your nose, near the openings into your sinuses.
They too can bleed and interfere with normal breathing.
People with hay fever and other nasal allergies are most prone to nasal polyps, as are people who overuse nose drops and nasal sprays.
Polyps on your vocal cords are caused by abuse (like from repeated and prolonged screaming or, among singers especially, improper vocal techniques), usually in the presence of an infection.
People who smoke or have allergies are more susceptible.
Vocal cord polyps usually cause painless hoarseness.
To deal with polyps it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified (chlorine-free) water.
*Aloe vera juice improves digestion and cleanses your digestive tract.
*Butcher’s broom, cardamon, cayenne, Garcinia cambogia, ginger, green tea, and mustard seed are thermogenic herbs to improve digestion.
*Cascara sagrada is a colon cleanser and laxative.
*A high-fiber diet with no animal fats is important. Include in your diet apricots, broccoli, brown rice, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, oatmeal, onions, green peppers, sweet potatoes, sesame seeds, spinach, sunflower seeds, and whole grains. Fruits with edible seeds, like figs, raspberries, strawberries, and even bananas, tend to contain lots of fiber.
*Take some form of supplemental fiber daily. Barley, legumes, oat bran, psyllium husks, and rice bran are good sources of fiber. Always take supplemental fiber separate from other supplements and medications.
*Be sure to increase your water intake when increasing fiber consumption. If you don’t, you may have bloating, gas, pain, and constipation. Increase fiber intake slowly over several weeks.
*Exclude from your diet fried foods, highly processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol. Don’t use tobacco.
*Regular physical examinations are important, especially after age 40. A digital rectal exam is easily performed in your physician’s office and can quickly determine if there are any abnormalities along your colon wall. Beyond age 50, a colonoscopy is recommended.
*If you have rectal bleeding, or if blood appears in your stool, consult your physician. A fecal occult blood test should be done to identify the source of the blood.
*The treatment of choice for most polyps, regardless of location, is surgical removal. In most cases this is a relatively minor procedure, often performed on an outpatient basis.
*Vocal cord polyps may be treated with humidification, speech therapy, and rest. Surgical removal of the polyps may be necessary.
*For familial polyposis, a surgical procedure removing the colon may be necessary. In some cases, the rectum is left in place and connected to the small intestine to allow for bowel evacuation. However, in most cases, polyps return.
*Research has found men with the highest consumption of saturated fat are twice as likely to develop potentially malignant polyps as men who limited their fat intake.
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