What is stomach polyps?
Stomach polyps are lumps that form on the inner lining of your stomach. Polyps do not usually cause signs or symptoms. They are most often discovered when your doctor is examining you for a certain reason.
Many are not cancerous. However, some types do increase your risk of stomach cancer and can develop into cancer.
What causes stomach polyps?
Stomach polyps form due to damage in your stomach lining.
Gastritis, which is chronic stomach inflammation, damages the stomach lining. H. Pylori is a bacterium that is a common cause. It may contribute to the development of some types of stomach polyps such as adenomas. Adenomas may become cancerous and are generally removed.
Familial adenomatous polyposis is a rare, genetic disease which increases your risk of getting the condition. It may cause some cells on the inner lining of your stomach to grow into polyps or adenomas that may become cancerous.
Risk factors such as long-term usage of certain medications such as proton pump inhibitors to decrease stomach acid has been linked to stomach cancer. Aging also plays an important role as most cases are found in people from mid to late adulthood.
How do I know if I have stomach polyps?
The condition rarely presents any symptoms, however, if they grow large they may cause pain, bleeding, nausea, or vomiting. The polyps may also grow ulcers on their surfaces or block the opening between your stomach and small intestine. They are usually discovered during an upper GI endoscopy. During endoscopy, a tissue sample (biopsy) can be removed and examined in the laboratory. It is important to get yourself checked through gastroscopy and colonoscopy every 3 to 5 years to ensure that all is well and to remove any polyps present.
How is it treated?
Polyps are generally easy to treat. They can easily be removed and a biopsy sample is taken during an endoscopy. This is known as polypectomy. No additional treatment is needed in most cases. If as found out during a colonoscopy that you have H. Pylori causing gastritis and stomach polyps, you will be prescribed antibiotics and gastric medications. These will cure you of the infection and reduce your chances of more stomach polyps in future.
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