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Cervical Polyps

By S. Gene McNeeley, MD, Clinical Professor;Chief of Gynecology, Center for Advanced Gynecology and Pelvic Health, Michigan State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine;Trinity Health

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Cervical polyps are common benign growths of the cervix and endocervix.

Cervical polyps occur in about 2 to 5% of women. They usually originate in the endocervical canal. Endocervical polyps may be caused by chronic inflammation. They rarely become malignant.

Symptoms and Signs

Most cervical polyps are asymptomatic. Endocervical polyps may bleed between menses or after intercourse or become infected, causing purulent vaginal discharge (leukorrhea).

Endocervical polyps are usually reddish pink, glistening, and < 1 cm in all dimensions; they may be friable.

Diagnosis

  • Speculum examination

Diagnosis of cervical polyps is by speculum examination.

Treatment

  • Excision

Polyps that cause bleeding or discharge should be removed. Excision can be done in the office by grasping the base with forceps and twisting off the polyp (polypectomy). Polypectomy does not require anesthetics. Bleeding after excision is rare and can be controlled with chemical cautery. Cervical cytology should be done.

If bleeding or discharge persists after treatment, endometrial biopsy is done to exclude cancer.

Key Points

  • Cervical polyps rarely become malignant.

  • Most are asymptomatic, but some cause bleeding or become infected, causing purulent vaginal discharge.

  • Diagnose by speculum examination.

  • If polyps cause symptoms, remove them; if bleeding or discharge persists after removal, biopsy is required to exclude cancer.

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