Polyps 2346
Photo by: Sebastian Kaulitzki

Polyps (POL-ips) are growths of tissue that project from the mucous membranes * These growths normally are benign (be-NINE), which means they are not a threat to someone's health, but in some cases they can develop into cancerous tumors.


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Cervical polyps

Colorectal polyps

Nasal polyps

What Are Polyps?

Three of the most common types include colorectal, cervical, and nasal polyps.

* mucous membranes (MU-kus membranes) are the thin layers of tissue found inside the nose, ears, cervix (SER-viks) and uterus, stomach, colon and rectum, on the vocal cords, and in other parts of the body.

Colorectal polyps

These polyps grow in the colon or rectum, parts of the large intestine. They can develop into cancerous polyps. People who have colorectal polyps may notice unusual cramping, stomach pain, or bleeding when they have a bowel movement, or they may not experience any symptoms at all. Doctors usually check for polyps in people who have these symptoms, or who have relatives that were diagnosed with colorectal polyps, since sometimes polyps run in families. Most colorectal polyps develop in people over age 50.

The most common procedures for diagnosing colorectal polyps are sig-moidoscopy (sig-moyd-OS-ko-pee), an examination of the rectum and lower colon, and colonoscopy (ko-lon-OS-ko-pee), an examination of the rectum and the entire colon. The doctor inserts a flexible lighted instrument into the colon that transmits images of the inside of the colon to a monitor. If polyps are found, they are removed to prevent the development of cancer.

Cervical Polyps

These growths develop in the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus * . Their cause is not completely understood, but they are not related to any type of sexually transmitted disease.

The most common symptom of cervical polyps is abnormal bleeding from the vagina * . Cervical polyps are relatively common and are usually found during a woman's annual pelvic examination, when the doctor checks the uterus, cervix, and vagina for any abnormalities. Most cervical polyps are benign and can be removed easily. Only rarely do they develop into cancer.

Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyps develop in the sinuses, the cavities in the skull that are located near the top of the nose and under the eyes. People who develop nasal polyps usually have a history of allergies, hay fever, sinus infections, asthma * , or cystic fibrosis * . They can cause problems with breathing and either need to be removed or treated with medications that the person inhales. Nasal polyps rarely become cancerous.

* uterus (YOO-ter-us) in humans is the organ in females for containing and nourishing the young during development in the period before birth. Also called the womb.

* The vagina is the canal that leads from the uterus—the womb—to the outside of the body.

* asthma is a lung disorder that involves attacks of breathing difficulty.

* cystic fibrosis (SIS-tik fy-BRO-sis) is an inherited disorder in which the body's glands release very thick mucus. This can lead to blockages and infection in the lungs.

See also
Colorectal Cancer
Cystic Fibrosis



The Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, posts information about colorectal and nasal polyps on its website.

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Jan 21, 2016 @ 4:16 pm
I recently had a procedure looking into my stomach and trachea for polyps. A picture of a long one extending from the level of the vocal chords down into the lung was taken and shown to me. It looked like a piece of plastic garden hose inside the trachea filling it about 3/4 full. The picture didn't show where the polyp originated. I subsequently went to another hospital (first in Juneau, Alaska, second in Seattle, Wa.) and had the procedure repeated after a CT scan showed nothing whatsoever. The second procedure showed no polyp. I asked if it could have detached and fallen into the lung, and was told that they looked into the bottom of the lung and there was no evidence of extraneous tissues. The physician at the hospital in Seattle said it might have been a hardened strip of mucous, (essentially a very long booger?). He said he saw no trace of any polyp where the picture (which he never saw) indicated it was. Can polyps get infected and swell in size and length to such dimensions and then spontaneously get better and shrink away to nothing? It didn't appear to ever have been there. Angels didn't come and take it out of me, aliens didn't fly in and decide to do me a favor and transport it out of my body. I didn't cough it up either when I was awake or when sleeping. It would have had to come out from the vocal chords, and the size that of that thing would have had me choking either way. Where did it go. I didn't sleep all night thinking about it and reasoned finally that it was torn when I had a 10 day bout of pneumonia with severe coughing, and somehow got inflated with air. When the picture was taken, it showed as a fully developed polyp of great size and length. For all I know the thing had been growing in me for many years and I never noticed it. It was a couple of weeks after the photo saw it and the subsequent ct scan and re-exam didn't. Could it be deflated and pasted along the side of the trachea and not being recognized as a polyp any more, because it is no longer filling the trachea tube? The doctor in Seattle says I don't have anything in there. I still feel it and am still coughing up mucous regularly during the day and at night. I think it is pasted to the side by sticky fluids and is just sort of camouflaged because it is flattened along the side. Has anyone heard of such a problem. My doctors want to turn their back on this and I can't stand knowing it is still in there waiting like a land mine to bring me to grief. Any help out there with this?

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