Stomach Polyps

Overview

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:

  • Gastritis
  • Certain infections such as H. pylori infection
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Prior stomach surgery
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Long term use of medication that decreases acid in the stomach—called proton pump inhibitors
  • Family history
Gastric Ulcer
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SymptomsandDiagnosis

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:

  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy

Treatments

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.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

a (Gastric Polyps)

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.