In people with ulcerative colitis, pseudopolyps develop because of repeated bouts of inflammation and healing in the bowel wall.

Pseudopolyps are noncancerous growths that can form in the lining of your colon or rectum.

These formations are common in people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is characterized by chronic inflammation in the digestive tract.

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is one type of IBD. It specifically affects the innermost lining of your colon and rectum.

When UC inflammation occurs, it damages the tissue in these areas. As the damaged tissue heals, it can form raised areas, called pseudopolyps.

This article discusses the different types of pseudopolyps and their association with UC. It also explores symptoms, risks, diagnosis, and treatment.

Repeated cycles of inflammation and healing in your bowel wall can trigger pseudopolyps.

This happens when inflammation damages the body’s tissue and, as it heals, it may form raised areas, which healthcare professionals call pseudopolyps.

This inflammation is more common in people with IBD, particularly those with UC.

Symptoms of pseudopolyps are usually similar to IBD itself. These include:

If the pseudopolyps are large, they might cause painless rectal bleeding or changes in your bowel habits.

But it’s important to note that symptoms can vary widely from person to person, and not everyone with pseudopolyps will experience these symptoms.

Inflammatory polyps and pseudopolyps are both types of growths that can appear in your colon or rectum. The term polyp refers to any growth that emerges from the surface of an organ. Both of these polyps are usually associated with conditions that cause inflammation, such as UC.

Inflammatory polyps form as a result of inflammation in the colon or rectum. These polyps consist of regular body tissue but are often inflamed because of an underlying condition, such as UC.

On the other hand, pseudopolyps, also known as “false polyps” are not true polyps. Instead, they are remnants of previous inflammation. During a period of severe inflammation, parts of the colon or rectum may become damaged and then heal, forming these growths.

Chronic inflammation caused by UC can cause pseudopolyps as your body tries to heal the damage.

Having pseudopolyps is often an indicator of previous severe inflammation and ulceration (the formation of an ulcer) in the colon or rectum. This is why they are more common in people with a history of severe episodes of UC.

These episodes damage the bowel wall, leading to inflammation and then to pseudopolyps.

Pseudopolyps themselves are noncancerous and usually do not cause specific symptoms.

Yet their presence can indicate a history of severe inflammation and ulceration in your colon or rectum, signaling a more severe form of UC.

The main risk with pseudopolyps is that they can change the way your digestive system works. They could lead to altered bowel habits, with symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain.

In some cases, large pseudopolyps can even cause painless rectal bleeding.

In rare cases, complications can arise. For example, giant pseudopolyps can cause colonic obstruction, a serious condition where your colon gets blocked.

In addition, pseudopolyps may be associated with a higher risk for treatment escalation in UC. Treatment escalation means that a healthcare professional recommends increased or stronger treatment to help prevent complications.

While pseudopolyps aren’t cancerous, having UC does increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer. It’s not clear whether pseudopolyps add to this risk, but they do often indicate a history of severe inflammation, which is a risk factor for cancer.

Doctors often find pseudopolyps during routine colon tests, such as colonoscopy or barium enema. These are two common tests to examine the colon.

During these tests, your doctor will look for raised bumps on the walls of your colon or rectum. Your doctor may find the pseudopolyps while examining you.

Sometimes, doctors can also detect pseudopolyps through blood tests that show elevated levels of certain substances, like procollagen III peptide. This substance can increase when there’s inflammation and damage in your colon.

The primary goal is to manage your UC, as this can help reduce inflammation and potentially prevent the formation of more pseudopolyps. This usually involves medications like anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors, or biologics.

Living with UC can be a challenge, so it’s crucial to know when to get help. It’s recommended to contact a doctor right away if you have:

Pseudopolyps are not a precursor to cancer, according to experts. They are benign growths that form due to healing from inflammation in your colon or rectum.

But having pseudopolyps does mean that your UC is becoming more aggressive. This, in itself, can potentially increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

So if you have pseudopolyps, you may need more frequent monitoring and cancer screening tests.

UC is a type of IBD, a condition with many symptoms. As it flares, your bowel walls get inflamed, then the body repairs them. A cycle of inflammation and repair can lead to raised areas or pseudopolyps.

These pseudopolyps often show no symptoms, but you may also experience abdominal pain and bleeding.