Polyps are abnormal growths of tissue. They can develop in any organ that has blood vessels. They are most often found in the colon, nose, or uterus, and rarely in the stomach.
Most polyps are not cancerous, i.e. benign. However, they should be regularly checked because some of them can become cancerous, i.e. malign. This can occur due to the abnormal growth of cells.
Stomach polyps, also known as gastric polyps, develop in the stomach lining. They are common at the age of 50 or over. Gastric polyps are rare. Although most of them are non-cancerous, regular doctor’s monitoring is necessary as there are cases when these can turn into cancer because polyps are abnormal growths of tissue.
Stomach polyps usually don't cause symptoms. Symptoms begin when the stomach polyp enlarges, when ulcers may develop. Sometimes, symptoms depend on the location of the polyp.
If you do feel any symptoms, those are:
- Pain or tenderness when pressing the stomach
The cause of stomach polyps is inflammation of the stomach lining. The inflammation may be caused by:
- gastritis and Helicobacter pylori, which is classified as hyperplastic polyps
- an inherited syndrome called familial adenomatous polyposis, classified as fundic gland polyp because it froms in the stomach glands
- adenomas, forming in the stomach glands, too, but it is the least common type which can cause stomach cancer.
The risk factors for developing stomach polyps are:
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which is also a common cause of gastritis.
- Familial adenomatous polyposis – a risk for stomach polyps and colon cancer
- Certain medications for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease, like the proton pump inhibitor
Preventive measures can be taken in terms of having a healthy lifestyle, such as eating healthy food (one that does not worsen gastritis symptoms if that is the cause of the stomach polyp or that will reduce acidity), control stress, and quit smoking.