• Stomach Polyps

    (Gastric Polyps)

    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.

    Medication

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

    Surgery

    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.

    RESOURCES

    American Gastroenterological Association http://www.gastro.org

    Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Association of Gastroenterology https://www.cag-acg.org

    Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca

    References

    Non-cancerous tumours of the stomach. Canadian Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/stomach/stomach-cancer/non-cancerous-tumours/?region=on. Accessed June 10, 2014.

    Shaib YH, Rugge M, Graham DY, Genta RM. Management of gastric polyps: an endoscopy approach. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013;11(11):1374-1384.

    The stomach: stomach polyps. Chicago Endoscopy Center website. Available at: http://www.chicagoendoscopy.com/the-stomach.html#a4. Accessed June 10, 2014.

    Revision Information

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