Polyps: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


In this article we will look at:

What are Polyps?

Polyps are referred to as the abnormal tissue growths that usually appear as small, flat bumps or small versions of the mushroom stalks. Most of the polyps tend to be small in size and are usually less than half an inch wide in dimension.

Polyps that occur in the colon tend to be the most common occurrences. However, polyps can also develop in other parts of the body including the uterus, nose, throat, ear canal, stomach, and cervix. 

Most of the polyps tend to be benign (non-cancerous). However, because they occur due to abnormal cell growth, the polyps might eventually become cancerous or malignant. In such a case, the doctor can help in determining whether or not the growth of the polyp is malignant by performing a proper biopsy of the same. This process would involve taking a small sample of the polyp tissue and testing it in the lab for the presence of any cancerous cell growth. 

The overall treatment for the polyps in different parts of the body would depend on its location, the overall size, and whether or not they are cancerous. 

How do Polyps Occur?

The overall causes of polyps would greatly depend on the location of the same. For instance, throat polyps usually occur because of some injury caused due to loud shouting or some damage from the breathing tube. In some cases, the doctors are simply not able to determine the given cause or reason of the occurrence of the polyps. 

Some of the known causes of the polyps in different parts of the body include:

  • A cyst
  • Inflammation
  • A tumor
  • Some foreign object
  • Excess production of estrogen
  • Chronic stomach inflammation
  • Mutation of the genes occurring in the colon cells

The polyps tend to grow by the rapid division of the cells –thus, it is quite similar to the growth of the cancer tumors. This is the reason why there is always a fear of the polyps becoming benign or cancerous in some typical cases. 

Who is Prone to Polyps?

People who have the habit of smoking on a regular basis are more prone to developing polyps –especially bladder polyps. Similarly, women who are above the age of 40 years and women who have had children are more likely to develop uterus polyps. For cervical polyps, women who are above the age of 20 years are more at risk –especially those who are in the stage of pre-menopause. People who are in the habit of stressing the vocal chords or have acid reflux are more prone to developing throat polyps. 

What are the Symptoms of Polyps? How are Polyps Diagnosed?

The polyps symptoms tend to vary depending on the specific type and location of the polyps development. Here are some polyps symptoms to look out for:

Aural polyps

  • Drainage of blood from the ear
  • Loss of hearing

Cervical polyps

  • Unusual discharge from the cervix
  • Heavier bleeding during menstruation or sex

Colon (Colorectal) Polyps

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Nasal Polyps

  • Bleeding from the nasal chambers
  • Nausea
  • Pain 

Throat Polyps

  • Hoarse or breathy voice 

Bladder Polyps

  • Painful urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in urine


Towards diagnosing whether or not you have polyps in any given region, the doctor will perform a physical examination and inquire about your overall medical history and polyps symptoms. If the doctor doubts that you have polyps, then some of the diagnostic tests he or she will suggest would include X-rays, CT scans, or an ultrasound of the affected area. 

When it is confirmed that you have polyps, then the doctor might wish to perform a biopsy towards finding out whether or not the polyp is cancerous. 

What are the Complications for Polyps?

The complications associated with polyps would usually depend on the specific location of the polyps. For instance, in the case of nasal polyps, the complications might include asthma, sinus infection, allergies, or cystic fibrosis. For colon polyps, the complications might include risks to developing colon cancer, and so more. 

What is the Treatment for Polyps?

Some of the polyps that are mild or very small might not require proper treatment. Mostly, the throat polyps tend to go away on their own with some rest & voice therapy. The treatment for different types of polyps would depend on factors including the location, size, number of polyps, and whether or not they are cancerous. 

In the case of the colon polyps, the doctor might suggest the removal of the polyps using the process of colonoscopy to prevent any risk for the development of colon cancer in the future. In other cases, the doctor might also suggest some specific medication to remove the polyps naturally.

Home Remedies for Polyps

The home remedies for treating polyps would depend on the specific type & location of the polyps. For instance, nasal polyps can be treated with the help of turmeric, garlic, and tea tree oil. 

Did You Know?

  • The throat polyps are the most common forms of polyps.
  • Polyps are mostly benign.
  • Colon polyps have the greatest risks to becoming cancerous.

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