What Are Cervical Polyps?

Cervical polyps are growths on the cervical canal, the passage that connects the uterus to the vagina. They’re often reddish, purplish, or grayish in color. They may be shaped like a finger, bulb, or thin stem. They can range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters long.

These bumps inside your cervix are pretty common. They’re most common in women over age 20 who’ve given birth to more than one child. They’re rare in girls who haven’t started their period.

Most cervical polyps are benign (not cancer).

What Are the Symptoms?

About two out of three women who have cervical polyps don’t have symptoms. Doctors normally find these growths during a Pap test or other procedure. If you do have symptoms, they may include:

What Causes Them?

Doctors aren’t sure, but think they may be linked to:

How Are They Diagnosed and Treated?

If your doctor finds cervical polyps during a routine pelvic exam and Pap smear, she’ll probably take a sample of the tissue (biopsy) and send it to the lab to make sure it’s not cancer.

She’ll probably remove them at that time. She’ll use a tool called a polyp forceps to gently twist the growth off your cervix.

You might bleed and cramp just a little during or after the procedure. An over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) can relieve the pain.

If your polyp is large, your doctor may recommend removing it in the operating room using a local or general anesthetic.

Most cervical polyps are benign, cause no problems, and don’t come back once they’re removed.

Can I Prevent Cervical Polyps?

No, but routine pelvic exams and Pap tests can help detect and treat cervical polyps before they cause symptoms.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on February 19, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

Harvard Health: “Cervical Polyps.”

BJOG: “Why Remove All Cervical Polyps and Examine Them Histologically?”

Baylor College of Medicine: “Cervical Polyps.”

Harvard Health: “Nabothian Cysts.”

Fibroid Treatment Collective: “What is the Difference Between Uterine Polyps vs. Fibroids?”

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