About cervical polyps

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
Polyps (PAUL-ips) are soft, finger-like masses that result from the overgrowth of lining cells. Polyps can occur in many places, including the cervix, which is the long neck at the end of the uterus, where it meets the vagina. The growths may hang down the cervix, protruding slightly into the vagina. Cervical polyps are almost always benign (buh-NINE), or non-cancerous. Still, they should be examined, just to rule out any problems. Usually, the only symptom is abnormal bleeding, often after intercourse. Polyps are fragile, and when bumped, tend to bleed easily. Fortunately, this can also make them easy to remove. Many times, the doctor can grab the polyp with forceps, and painlessly break it off at its stalk. Or, a scraping procedure called a dilation and curettage (KYOO-ray-TAHZH) or 'D and C' may be performed. In the rare event that the polyp is very large, or has an unusually thick stalk, an operation called a myomectomy (my-oh-MEC-toe-mee) may be needed. Here, a telescopic instrument is passed through the cervix; the electrically-heated device then cuts through the stalk, and the polyp can be removed. For more information about cervical polyps, or to investigate any unusual bleeding, consult a health care provider.

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