Friday, August 9, 2013

Risk Factors For Colon Polyps

Risk factors for colon polyps fall into two categories---those that you can control and those that you cannot control. Risk factors that you can control have to do with lifestyle changes, while factors that you can't control involve genetics, age and your health history. The American Cancer Society warns that risk factors aren't conclusive. You can develop polyps even if you have no risk factors, and having risk factors doesn't mean you will get polyps.


The older you are, the greater your risk of developing colon polyps. According to the Mayo Clinic, nine out of 10 people with cancerous colon polyps are over 50. The risk typically starts to increase after age 40. Younger people do get colon polyps, but not nearly as frequently as older people.

Personal History

If you have had colon cancer or colon polyps in the past, you have a greater chance of developing more polyps in the future. A history of an inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease also increases your chances of developing colon polyps.


If you have a close family member who has had colon cancer or colon polyps, you are at greater risk for having colon polyps. You are at even greater risk if the family member had colon cancer before the age of 60, or if you have several family members with a history of polyps or cancer.

Diet and Exercise

A diet high in fat and low in fiber has been associated with an increased risk of developing colon polyps, although there are conflicting studies on the issue. A sedentary lifestyle has also been linked to increased chances of getting polyps. Too little exercise causes wastes to remain in the colon longer, which may play a role in the development of polyps.

Obesity and Diabetes

If you are overweight, you are at greater risk of developing colon polyps than someone with normal weight. People with diabetes and insulin resistance are also at greater risk of getting polyps.

Alcohol and Tobacco Use

Heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of getting colon polyps. People who smoke are also at greater risk than those who do not. If you smoke and consume alcohol, your risk is even greater.

Race and Sex

Although the reasons are not clear, more men than women develop colon polyps, and if you are black, you are at greater risk than if you are white.

Tags: colon polyps, greater risk, colon polyps, developing colon, developing colon polyps