Definition

What are cervical polyps?

Cervical polyps are considered as small, elongated tumors that grow on the cervix, the narrow canal at the bottom of the uterus that extends into the vagina. The cervix connects the uterine cavity and the upper portion of the vagina. It functions as the passageway for sperm to fertilize an egg, which could result in pregnancy. During giving birth, the cervix becomes thinner and wider. This enables the baby to pass through the birth canal.

Polyps are fragile structures that grow from stalks rooted on the surface of the cervix or inside of the cervical canal. If someone has polyps, they usually experience only one polyp is present, and two or three at most.

Cervical polyps are frequently benign, or not cancerous, and cervical cancer rarely arises from them. Most cervical cancers are due to the human papilloma virus (HPV), the cause of genital warts.

How common are cervical polyps?

According to Harvard University, the polyps of cervix are most common in women in their 40s and 50s who’ve had more than one child. Polyps almost never happen in young women before the start of menstruation. Polyps are also common during pregnancy. This may occur due to an increase in the hormone estrogen. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of cervical polyps?

The signs and symptoms of cervical polyps may not be noticed. However, see your gynecologist right away if you experience vaginal discharge of white or yellow mucus, or abnormally heavy periods.

Some of these signs and symptoms are listed above, can also be signs of cancer. In rare cases, polyps represent an early phase of cervical cancer. Removing them helps reduce this risk.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes cervical polyps?

Until now the reason why cervical polyps occur isn’t fully understood. Some theories believe that:

  • Increased levels of estrogen, which is the female sex hormone
  • Chronic inflammation of the cervix, vagina, or uterus
  • Clogged blood vessels

Risk factors

What increases my risk for cervical polyps?

There are many risk factors for cervical polyps, such as:

High estrogen levels

Estrogen levels naturally fluctuate throughout a woman’s life. Your estrogen levels will be highest during childbearing years, during any pregnancies, and in the months leading up to menopause.

Man-made chemicals that mimic estrogen are present in the environment. For example, xenoestrogens are in commercially produced meats and dairy products. Chemical estrogens can also be released into food that’s heated in plastic or plastic foam containers. Even some air fresheners contain phthalates, which are other estrogen-like chemicals.

Inflammation

An inflamed cervix appears red, irritated, or eroded. Some of the known causes of cervical inflammation include:

  • Bacterial infection
  • HPV infection, which can also cause warts
  • Herpes
  • Yeast infections
  • Pregnancy
  • Miscarriage
  • Abortion
  • Hormonal changes

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How are cervical polyps diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects that you may experience this condition, a physical examination will be performed and some tests will be also recommended by your doctor. Biopsies, or tissue samples, of the polyps are taken and sent to a laboratory for testing. Results usually show benign polyp cells. In rare cases, abnormal cells or precancerous patterns of growth known as neoplastic changes may be present.

How are cervical polyps treated?

Sometimes, cervical polyps will disconnect from the cervix on their own. This can occur while a woman is menstruating or during sexual intercourse.

Doctors don’t routinely remove cervical polyps unless they cause symptoms. Removing cervical polyps is a simple procedure that your doctor can perform in their office. No pain medication is necessary. Methods for removing cervical polyps include:

  • Twisting the polyp off at the base
  • Tying surgical string around the base of the polyp and cutting it away
  • Using ring forceps to remove the polyp

Methods to destroy the base of the polyp include the use of:

  • Liquid nitrogen
  • Electrocautery ablation, which involves using an electrically heated needle
  • Laser surgery

You may feel a brief, mild pain during removal and mild to moderate cramps for a few hours afterward. Spotting of blood from the vagina may occur for one or two days after removal.

In some instances, the polyps or the polyp stems are too large to remove in a doctor’s office. If this is the case, you may need to have surgery to remove the cervical polyp in a hospital or surgery in a hospital or surgery center.

The outlook for people with cervical polyps is excellent. Once the doctor removes them, they don’t usually grow back.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage cervical polyps?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with cervical polyps:

  • Get regular pelvic exams helps ensure finding any growths early in their development.
  • Wear cotton underwear that allows good air circulation. This prevents excess heat and moisture, which is the perfect environment for infections.
  • Use a condom during intercourse.
  • Be sure to get regular pelvic exams and Pap tests

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: August 10, 2017 | Last Modified: August 10, 2017

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