Symptoms and Diagnosis of Cervical Polyps


So, you have been told you have a cervical polyp. Don’t panic.

Any body surface that is lined with a mucous membrane that is rich in blood vessels can produce a growth called a polyp. Areas of the body where polyps typically occur include the:

  • Colon/intestines
  • Uterus
  • Nasal passages
  • Mouth
  • Bladder

Polyps are considered fragile growths because they bleed easily when they are touched or irritated.



Cervical polyps are usually small, teardrop-shaped projections that grow from the surface of the cervix or more commonly in the endocervical canal. The endocervical canal is the inside of the cervix that leads to the uterus. It is lined with glandular cells that are typical of mucous membranes.

Endocervical polyps hang from a stalk that contains their blood supply. Polyps that develop in the endocervical canal will typically grow into the canal and often push through the cervical os.

While the cause of cervical polyps is not clear, there may be an association with chronic cervical inflammation, clogged cervical blood vessels, or an abnormal response to increased levels of estrogen.

Cervical polyps almost never occur prior to the onset of menstruation (menarche) and are seen in approximately 2-5% of women of reproductive age. They are most common in women in their 40s and 50s who have more than one child. Additionally, cervical polyps are common during early pregnancy, presumably due to higher levels of circulating hormones. In most cases, only one cervical polyp is present; however, occasionally two or three cervical polyps may be present.


Many cervical polyps are asymptomatic causing no symptoms at all. Cervical polyps rarely cause pain. Even though they push through the opening of the cervix they are generally too small and too soft to dilate the cervix and cause pain. If you are diagnosed with a polyp because you are having pain it is most likely a large endometrial polyp or even a prolapsed pedunculated fibroid. The typical symptoms of cervical polyps include:


Diagnosing cervical polyps is relatively simple. Cervical polyps are usually easy to see during a pelvic exam when your healthcare provider uses a speculum to visualize your cervix. Cervical polyps appear smooth, with a red or purple color, or grayish-white color, and protrude from the cervical canal into the vagina. If the cervical polyp is larger than expected, your healthcare provider may order a pelvic ultrasound to evaluate the possibility of a prolapsed endometrial polyp or fibroid.


If your healthcare provider finds a cervical polyp during a routine exam she will likely recommend it be removed, even if you are not having any symptoms. Cervical polyps are almost always benign but you can’t be absolutely sure unless they are removed and examined. Removing a cervical polyp is very easy and usually relatively painless. So, unless you are pregnant, the benefits of removing the polyp outweigh any risks associated with the procedure.

Usually, your healthcare provider can easily remove your cervical polyp in the office by simply grasping it with a clamp and gently twisting it off. You will experience minimal discomfort, usually just a tugging sensation or maybe a little cramping. If the polyp is large or with a very thick stalk your healthcare provider will likely recommend the removal be done in the operating room. A common technique is tying surgical string around the base of the polyp and cutting it off. The remaining base of the cervical polyp may be removed using electrocautery or laser surgery.

As always discuss any concerns you may have about your pelvic health with your healthcare provider.

Related Articles
Foods to Avoid If You Have Dry Mouth From Radiation

Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a common side effect of radiation therapy for people undergoing treatment for head and neck cancer. Read more

Thyroid adenoma: Causes, Treatment, and Diagnosis

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your throat that produces hormones affecting a number of Read more

NSAIDs and You Thyroid Function

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most frequently taken over-the-counter medications. Due to their systemic or whole body effects, it's Read more

How Doctors Are Failing Thyroid Disease Patients

The thyroid disease community has continually mentioned the lack of support they experience and the difficulty they have navigating the Read more