Cervical polyps are usually found during routine pelvic exams
Cervical polyps are benign growths that can form on the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects with the vagina. Most often they affect women who are over 20 and have given birth to more than one child. Their cause is unknown although inflammation, infection, or abnormal response to estrogen, are possible culprits.
Most polyps are identified during routine pelvic exams of pre-menopausal women. Often there are no symptoms indicating polyps.
Symptoms of cervical polyps are rare
While most women do not experience any symptoms at all, others may have:
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
- Vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
- White or yellow mucous (vaginal discharge indicating infection)
Not all symptoms are indicators of cervical polyps but may signify other health problems.
Polyps are generally not cancerous and may not need to be removed unless they’re causing symptoms, have become large and inflamed, or have an unusual appearance.
Treatment of cervical polyps is generally non-invasive
For symptomatic cervical polyps, treatment usually involves manual removal during a pelvic exam. Smaller polyps are removed by gentle twisting until the polyp is freed. Larger polyps may be removed using a minimally invasive laser technique called LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure). In rare cases your health care provider may send the polyps to a laboratory for testing to ensure there are no cancerous or pre-cancerous cells in the polyp.
The best way to prevent problems that may arise from cervical polyps is to keep up with your routine gynecological appointments and Pap smears.