Cedars Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital Alert: COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) information for patients and visitors LEARN MORE >>

What is a polyp?

Polyps are caused by abnormal cell growth and can have different sizes and structures. Usually, these are benign and do not cause symptoms.

Most polyps are benign, but sometimes they can become malignant. A specialist can determine whether a polyp is benign or malignant by performing a biopsy.

A polyp is a small cell clump that grows from a surface in the body, usually a mucous membrane and it can have various locations. There are two groups of polyps distinguished by their growth pattern:

  • Polyps that hang from a short stalk are called pedunculated polyps
  • Polyps that grow directly out of the surrounding tissue and are flat are called sessile polyps.

Localization and Symptoms

Polyps can appear in various places such as ears, nose, stomach, and colon in many cases with no symptoms at all.

  • Colorectal polyps - colorectal polyps are very common and usually not cancerous. However, it’s known that colon cancer and rectal cancer usually start out as polyps. Blood in stool, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea can be the symptoms of this polyps.
  • Ear polyps - can occur from various causes including ear inflammations, tumors, infections or foreign objects in the ear. The signs of ear polyps can be loss of hearing and bloody discharge from the ear.
  • Nasal polyps - are quite common and their causes are not exactly known. Colds that won't go away, nose pain, loss of smell and headache could be the signs of nasal polyps.
  • Uterine polyps - are located in the uterus and typically occur after menopause. The signs of these polyps are irregular menstrual bleeding and infertility.
  • Vocal cords polyps - usually develop on one-half of the vocal cords and have various symptoms such as a hoarse and breathy voice.
  • Stomach polyps - are located in the stomach and most of them don't increase the risk of developing stomach cancer. Vomiting, bleeding or pain can be the symptoms of developed stomach polyps.
  • Cervical polyps - develop on the cervix typically with no symptoms, sometimes can cause abnormal bleeding or unusual discharge.
  • Bladder polyps - develop in the bladder's lining and can cause blood in urine, frequent and painful urination.

Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/