Definition | Causes | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prevention

Definition

A stomach polyp is a growth in the lining of the stomach. There are many different types of polyps based on location and how they grow. Most of these polyps are not associated with cancer, but some may eventually become cancerous.

Common types of polyps include:

  • Hyperplastic polyps—most common type of polyps.
  • Fundic gland polyps—occur in the upper part of the stomach
  • Adenoma—least common, but most likely to later become stomach cancer

Causes

Stomach polyps often develop because of injury or irritation of the lining of the stomach that may occur with:

  • Normal aging process
  • Abnormal levels of stomach acid (too little or too much)
  • Irritation from inflammatory conditions or infections

Some stomach polyps may be caused by genetic defects.

Risk Factors

Most stomach polyps are more likely to occur in older adults. Other factors that may increase your risk of stomach polyps include:

Gastric Ulcer

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Symptoms

Most stomach polyps do not cause symptoms.

Larger polyps may cause:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in vomit or stool
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Heartburn
  • Difficulty swallowing

Diagnosis

Polyps are often found during images taken for other medical reasons. If a polyp is found your doctor may request images of the stomach with:

Treatment

Most stomach polyps will not need treatment. Small polyps that may have a risk of cancer will be observed but may not need to be removed.

Polyps that cause symptoms may need treatment. They may be managed with medication or surgery. The specific treatment will depend on the size, number, and type of polyps.

Antibiotics may be recommended to help reduce the size of the polyps.

Large polyps or polyps with high risk of cancer development may be surgically removed. Surgical options include:

  • Endoscopy—removal with a scope that is inserted through the mouth
  • Gastrostomy—removal using an incision in the stomach wall to remove large polyps
  • Partial gastrectomy—partial removal of the stomach to remove multiple polyps

Prevention

Not all polyps can be prevented. Managing or curing conditions associated with the polyps may prevent future stomach polyps from developing.