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Cervical Polyps

Conditions Basics

What are cervical polyps?

Cervical polyps are smooth, red, finger-shaped growths in the cervix, the passage between the uterus and the vagina. Almost all cervical polyps are noncancerous (benign).

Cervical polyps most often occur in women older than 20 who have had several pregnancies. Most cervical polyps are first discovered during a pelvic exam. Usually only a single polyp develops, though sometimes two or three are found during an exam.

What causes them?

The cause of cervical polyps is not entirely understood. They may result from infection. They can also result from long-term (chronic) inflammation, an abnormal response to an increase in estrogen levels, or congestion of blood vessels in the cervical canal.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom a woman will notice is abnormal vaginal bleeding that occurs:

  • Between menstrual periods.
  • After menopause.
  • After douching.

Cervical polyps may be inflamed and rarely can become infected, causing vaginal discharge of yellow or white mucus. Polyps often occur without symptoms.

How are cervical polyps treated?

The most common treatment is removal of the polyp during a pelvic exam. This can be done simply by gently twisting the polyp, tying it tightly at the base, or removing it with special forceps. A solution is applied to the base of the polyp to stop any bleeding.

Polyps do not need to be removed unless they bleed, are very large, or have an unusual appearance.

Almost all cervical polyps are noncancerous (benign). Your doctor may decide to send the polyp to the lab to have it tested, but testing is not always needed.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: February 11, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review:

Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine

Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine

Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine

Kevin C. Kiley MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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