What Are Cervical Polyps?

During a routine checkup at your OB/GYN, your doctor tells you she sees some polyps on your cervix. Gasp! Your thoughts start racing: OMG, What does this mean? I’m too young! I have so much to live for…My family, my friends and season 6 of Game of Thrones!…Luckily, you are snapped back into reality by the calming voice of your doctor assuring you that there is nothing to worry about…Phew! Uhh, yah I knew that.

So what are cervical polyps?

Cervical polyps are small benign tumors on the cervix. Their sizes vary and can be anywhere from a few millimeters (size of a seed) to 1-2 centimeters (size of a large grape). There are usually one to 3 polyps found on the cervix. Polyps are most commonly diagnosed in pregnant women, or in women over 40 year of age. Thankfully, cervical polyps are almost always benign. Cervical polyps often don’t cause any noticeable symptoms, although some women may notice light spotting in between periods.

The causes of cervical polyp growth are poorly understand. It is thought that it may be a response to increased estrogen production or possibly a result of an infection.

Your doctor may want to remove them if they are large, or if they bleed or seem unusual in any way. However, smaller polyps can be left untreated.

Your doctor may be able to remove the polyps right then and there, using forceps designed for this purpose. The forceps will be used to grasp and gently twist the polyp(s) off. You may experience some mild pressure and discomfort during the procedure. In some cases, if the polyps are very large, you may need to have them removed in an operating room, where you will be provided with local anesthesia to minimize pain during the procedure. However, in most cases, your OB/GYN will be able to remove it in-office, quickly and with minimal hassle and discomfort.

After the procedure, you may experience some light bleeding, and mild cramping. Non-prescription pain medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen should help relieve any discomfort. You should be able to get right back to work, play or your Game of Thrones episodes without missing a beat.

Enjoy your health and the rest of your Summer!