Polyps & You
What Are Polyps?
Polyps are bumps that can grow inside the bowel. Polyps usually have the shape of a grape or a mushroom. You can't feel polyps grow. Polyps usually do not make you feel sick.
Are there Different Types of Polyps?
Yes. It's important to find out from your doctor what type of polyps you have because the conditions are very different. Polyp conditions are treated and monitored very differently depending on what type of polyps you have. Intestinal polyps in children are of two major types: 1) adenomatous polyps and 2) inflammatory (also called juvenile) polyps.
Do I Get to Talk to My Specialist?
Definitely. The first meeting with the Paediatric Gastroenterologist is a chance to ask all the questions you may have. It's an opportunity for you and your parents to meet the doctor so you can feel comfortable. Some kids and teenagers like to have a chance to talk to the doctor privately for a few minutes as well (it's up to you). At the first appointment we may talk about a test to look for polyps. We can discuss ways to make the experience as positive as possible for you. We can work with you to book a date for the polyp test which works best with your school schedule.
How Do Doctors Check For polyps?
Doctors check for polyps using a colonoscope. A colonoscope is an instrument that uses a thin tube with a light on the end to see inside your intestines. This is not an operation and no cuts are made in the skin. The colonoscope is passed through your rectum into the colon (large intestine) to check the lower bowel.
Depending on where the doctor needs to check this test may be called a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a test where the tube is placed into your rectum and carefully passed around the colon to the very end of the right side. A sigmoidoscopy is a test where the tube only goes into the left side of the colon. There is a tiny camera on the end of the colonoscope that shows the inside of your intestine on a television monitor. If polyps are found they often can be removed during the colonoscopy.
How Do I Get Ready for the Scope?
The preparation for a scope depends on the exact test you are having. Sometimes the doctor only needs to look a short distance into your large bowel (sigmoid colon). This type of test is called a sigmoidoscopy. If the doctor needs to look at your whole large bowel (colon) this is called a colonoscopy.
In order to clearly evaluate inside the colon (large bowel) it is important to clean out the bowel. During the week before the endoscopy most patients take a liquid medicine (usually one tablespoon per day of lactulose) at home to help soften the stool. Some kids are able to drink a special clean-out liquid at home. You can help decide with your doctor and nurse the best way to prepare your intestine for the test.
The remainder of the preparation is completed on the Paediatric ward at the hospital on the day of the procedure. Many patients receive enemas into the rectum. An enema is fluid which the nurse will give you to help your body empty all of the stool. Your parents will be with you during all of this. Some kids like to have a tour of the ward in advance so they know exactly what to expect on the day they come back for the test. A 'child life worker' is available to stay with you and your parents throughout the day if this is helpful.
Will I Be Awake for the Scope?
You will need to check with your own doctor to find out if you will be awake for the scope. Most of the time kids and teenagers receive medicine to go off to sleep for the scope. Kids wake up very soon after the scope has finished. Usually an intravenous (a tiny needle) is started in your hand or arm. Medicine is given into this needle by an anaesthetist (the doctor who is an expert in giving sleep medicine). Going off to sleep feels just like falling asleep on your own at nighttime. You will not feel any pain during the test. Some kids worry that they will wake up during the scope. The anaesthetist monitors you during the test and will give you more medicine if needed during the scope so you won't wake up until after the test. Many kids wake up after the test is finished and they ask if they have had the test yet.
Will the Scope Hurt?
Most of the time kids and teenagers are asleep during the scope and therefore will not feel any discomfort. After you wake up from the procedure some kids feel a bit of cramping (like a gas pain). This cramping usually only lasts a short while. Shortly after the procedure most kids are ready to drink and eat something. Most kids are ready to go home within two hours after the procedure. We expect you to be fully ready for school the next day.