Cervical Polyp

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

A cervical polyp is a small growth on or near the surface of the cervix. Thecervix is the opening between the vagina and the uterus. Cervical polyps areusually benign, or noncancerous, and rarely cause symptoms.

What is going on in the body?

Cervical polyps are formed when a group of cells, such as blood vessels withinthe cervix, form an abnormal growth. Cervical polyps are relatively common.They are seen more often in women over 20 years of age who have given birth tomany children. They are rare before puberty and after menopause.

Most cervical polyps are benign, but all should be removed and examined with amicroscope. Malignant changes may occur, and cancer of the cervixmay first be seen as a large polyp. The chance of malignant change in acervical polyp is less than 1%.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

It is not known what causes cervical polyps. Their growth may be aided byestrogen, a female hormone, or by chronic cervical infection, known ascervicitis. Such chronic inflammation creates more blood vesselswithin the cervix, which may eventually form a cervical polyp.

Symptoms & Signs

What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?

Many cervical polyps do not cause symptoms. They are found by chance during aroutine pelvic exam. Cervical polyps may cause vague symptoms such as thefollowing:

  • vaginal spotting or bleeding after intercourse
  • vaginal bleeding after douching
  • vaginal bleeding after exercise
  • vaginal bleeding in a woman who is in post menopause
  • abnormally heavy menstrual periods
  • pinkish or yellow vaginaldischarge
  • Diagnosis & Tests

    How is the condition diagnosed?

    Many cervical polyps do not cause symptoms and are found by chance during aroutine pelvicexaminationthat includes a Pap smear.During a pelvic exam, the cervix, vagina, and vulva are checked for signs ofchanges. To do a Pap smear, a healthcare provider uses a small spatula and abrush togently scrape cells from the cervix. These cells are sent to a lab fortesting.

    Prevention & Expectations

    What can be done to prevent the condition?

    Little can be done to prevent cervical polyps. Routine pelvicexams may decrease the risk of cancer of the cervixdeveloping from the polyp.

    What are the long-term effects of the condition?

    Since 99% of polyps are benign, there are no serious long-term problems.Vaginal bleeding patterns may be unpredictable. There is a less than 1% riskthat cervical polyps may become cancerous.

    What are the risks to others?

    A cervical polyp is not contagious and does not pose a risk to others.However, sexually transmitteddiseasesassociated with cervical polyps, such as Chlamydia trachomatis\. Sexually transmitted disease refers to any contagious disease transmitted from one person to another during sexual contact. chlamydia and human papilloma virus, are contagious.

    Treatment & Monitoring

    What are the treatments for the condition?

    A cervical polyp can be removed with a simple procedure in the healthcareprovider’s office. The provider gently twists the stalk of the polyp andremoves it. Removal of a polyp is called a polypectomy. Other methods includetying the base of the polyp to minimize bleeding.

    Larger polyps with a thick stalk may be removed using electrical current, aprocedure known as LEEP. Larger polyps may also be vaporized with lasersurgery.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Removal of the polyp usually produces minimal cramping and bleeding. Followingare sideeffects of laser surgery and LEEP:

  • foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • cervicitis, which is inflammation of the cervix
  • bleeding
  • allergic reactions to the local anesthesia
  • What happens after treatment for the condition?

    Women who have an abnormal PAP smear accompanied by a cervical polyp will needclose follow-upwith pelvic exams and PAP smears. Cervical polyps mayrecur if the stalk was not completely removed.

    How is the condition monitored?

    Routine pelvic exams are done to check for any recurrence of the cervicalpolyp. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcareprovider.

    Article type: xmedgeneral