What are polyps and how can they affect daily life?


Polyps are referred to an abnormal growth of tissues that often appear to be small, petite bumps almost resembling mushrooms. They often size upto less than half an inch wide and can occur in various parts of the body such as ear canal, uterus, stomach, cervix, nose and several other places. Most of the times, polyps are benign in nature which implies that they do not potentially have the threat of being cancerous. However, the ones that do eventually grow into cancerous polyps are the ones that face tremendous abnormal growth. A biopsy is performed by the doctor to determine if an extra growth is a polyp.

Polyps grow through excessive multiplication of cells, similar to how cancer cells grow which is primarily why some of the polyps are potentially cancerous even though most of them are likely to stay benign.


Since there are various kinds of polyps, they also have a wide range of symptoms attached to them. Each area of the body is likely to manifest different types of symptoms. Some of the symptoms are as follows and are categorised based on their location and names:

Polyp Type





No typical symptoms but might cause heavier period flow od unusual discharge during or after sexual intercourse


Ear Canal/ Passage

Blood drainage from ears/ hearing loss


Nose or Sinuses

Loss of smell, headache


Bladder lining

Frequent urination, blood urination


Large intestine, rectum & colon

Diarrhea, constipation, bloody stools


Causes of polyps are generally based on their locations. However, the cause of some polyps may be hard to determine even for doctors.

The most known causes are:

  • Foreign objects

  • Inflammation

  • A cyst

  • A tumor

  • Stomach inflammation

  • Excessive estrogen secretion

Risk factors

  • Women over the age of 40 who have borne children are likely to develop polyps in the uterus.

  • People who smoke also are said to have a higher risk of developing bladder polyps.

  • Women over the age of 20 and those who are premenopausal also are likely to develop uterus polyps.

  • People who stress their vocal cords on a regular basis are likely to get polyps in their throat however, it does not have any visible risks in aural polyps.


Most often, on visiting the doctor, you are likely to be asked about your health history, visible symptoms along with some other generic queries. If polyps is suspected by the physician, an ultrasound, CT Scan or X-ray is performed to examine the affected area. A biopsy is performed when the doctor wants to check if the polyp is cancerous.

A pap test, endoscopy, colonoscopy, esophagogastroduodenoscopy are tests that are generally performed to check for polyps in different parts of the body.


As mentioned above, a majority of polyps are considered to be harmless. However, if the consulting doctor suspects it to be cancerous, there are some treatments for the same. Treatments are again, dependent on the area of body it is affected.

  • Colon polyps are usually removed during a colonoscopy.

  • Progestin or gonadotropin-releasing hormones  are prescribed for hormone related polyps such as cervical and uterine polyps.

  • Corticosteroids or nasal steroids are usually prescribed to those with nasal polyps.

Some of the factors that affect the treatments are:

  • The size of the polyp’s growth

  • The number of polyps detected

  • Whether the polyps are cancerous

  • The affected area

It is extremely important to understand that polyps or the existence of polyps in your body is likely to cause little to no noticeable difference to your life. On diagnosis, if you are detected with a cancerous polyp, it is still not an extreme matter to resolve and can be dealt with ease. There will not be any alterations in your daily life as such, however, you may be recommended to follow some healthy habits to avoid deteriorating your existing condition. Healthy options such as quitting smoking, drinking and engaging in physical exercise are the common things asked to do by doctors. At last, it is for you to realize that it is not a life threatening condition and can be managed with some care and medication.


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