vaginal health

Vaginal Polyps

  • Female reproductive-tract vaginal polyps often have no symptoms, although they can cause bleeding, abnormal discharge between periods, or pain. Unlike colon polyps, which are often precursors to colon cancer, vaginal polyps are typically benign, or noncancerous. All the same, your daughter's ob-gyn may recommend that a biopsy (screening for cancer) be done on the polyp once it's removed to ensure that it's not malignant.

    Since many polyps grow on thin stems of tissue, they are easily cut or twisted off. The usual removal procedures do not take long and can be performed on an outpatient basis. For removal of vaginal or cervical polyps, a physician will dilate the vagina with a speculum and administer a local anesthetic to numb the area where the polyp is located. The physician will then use a surgical tool to cut the polyp off at its base. A patient may experience slight cramping or minor bleeding afterward. For uterine polyps, your physician will probably perform a surgical procedure called a D&C (dilatation and curettage), in which the vagina is dilated and both the entire uterine lining and any polyps are scraped off with an instrument called a curette.

    Chemicals used to freeze tissue growths or laser surgery can also be used to disintegrate polyps or cause tissue death in them. These last two methods, however, will completely destroy a growth, so a biopsy cannot be done. As a result, these procedures should be performed only if the polyp is unquestionably benign. Since it's important to rule out the possibility of cancer when faced with any growth in the reproductive tract, be sure to discuss this issue with your doctor before deciding on a treatment option.

    Unfortunately, vaginal polyps can recur and additional surgeries may be necessary. In extreme cases in which polyps continue to grow and cause excessive pain or bleeding, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be recommended.


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