Polyps are abnormal growths of tissue, usually benign, that appear in certain areas of the body. What are the causes and what do they consist of? We find out for you.

The diagnosis of a polyp can lead to the appearance of a wide variety of doubts, questions, and above all fears due to the lack of knowledge that the person may have about it, especially when we tend to almost erroneously relate it to cancer.

But we must first make something clear:  the presence of a polyp is NOT related to cancerous lesions. However, it is possible that said polyp could become a possible cancerous lesion, so many doctors advice removing them to guarantee that they will not cause supposed damage in the future.

What is a polyp?

A polyp is basically an overgrowth of tissue. It is, therefore, a benign mass, which can develop in practically all areas and zones of our body that are covered by mucous membranes.

Thus, for example, it is common for them to appear in areas such as the colon, rectum, gallbladder, nose, throat, lungs or kidneys. In the case of women, it is also possible to find polyps in the endometrium (the tissue that lines the uterus).

The vast majority of polyps are formed by existing mucous glands. Although on other occasions they may be newly formed, as is the case with pure adenomas (for example, mucosal polyps of the rectum in children), or anemosarcomas (presence of many polyps in the nose).

In fact, in the case of children, polyps tend to be located mainly in the large intestine and in the rectum, while from the onset of puberty until around the age of thirty-five, they tend to appear normally in the nostrils. . What’s more, nasal polyps tend to recur when they are surgically removed.

Why do they appear and what are their causes?

Before knowing the possible causes that can directly or indirectly influence the appearance of polyps, it is useful to discover that the predisposition to the appearance of mucosal polyps tends to extend from childhood until around the age of fifty.

Today there are a total of three theories that tend to explain the formation of polyps. We summarize them below:

  • As a consequence of inflammatory processes that causes the formation of an excess of benign tissue.
  • Due to certain vascular alterations related to circulatory problems.
  • Due to the decrease -normal- that occurs in the production of hormones, especially during menopause and andropause.

And what are the symptoms of polyps?

Depending on where the polyp appears, its symptoms will obviously be different. However, we can establish or indicate a series of symptoms or signs depending on the areas where the most common types of polyps arise. They are the following:

Colorectal polyps

They are polyps that grow in the colon or rectum. Surgical removal is recommended since there is a risk that they may become cancerous. However, if it is not removed, a sustained medical evaluation is necessary (for example, every 6 or 12 months), through a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy.

In the case of colorectal polyps, some symptoms usually appear, such as bleeding when they have a bowel movement or spasmodic pain in the abdomen. It is also possible that there are no symptoms at all.

Nasal polyps

They are polyps that appear or grow in the Para nasal sinuses, which consist of a set of air cavities that communicate with the nostrils and influence breathing, smell, heating and phonation.

They rarely tend to become cancerous, and usually tend not to produce symptoms.  However, people who have them have a medical history related to respiratory allergies, asthma, cystic fibrosis, sinus infections or allergic rhinitis.

Endometrial polyps

They are polyps that appear in the endometrium, which is the tissue that lines the uterus.  It is unknown why they form but they are not related to any type of sexually transmitted disease.

There are several symptoms that may arise, such as the case of more abundant menstruations both in frequency and quantity, or the appearance of abnormal uterine bleeding.


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