Cervical polyps consist of excess cervical cells that “pile up” within the cervical canal. They appear as bright red tubelike protrusions from the cervical opening, either alone or in clusters. Polyps are very common and usually benign.
Most polyps contain many blood vessels with a fragile outer wall, so bleeding may occur after intercourse or other vaginal penetration, douching, or self-exam. Polyps may also bleed during pregnancy, when hormonal changes stimulate growth of blood vessels in all cervical, vaginal, and uterine tissue.
Cells from the polyps will be collected as part of a Pap test. Cervical polyps are almost never cancerous.
Polyps do not necessarily require treatment. When they are small and there is little or no contact bleeding, you or your health care provider can usually just keep track of them with regular exams. Removing cervical polyps is often recommended as a preventive measure but is not required.
You may want to have them removed if the polyps begin to grow. This is a simple office procedure where your practitioner twists the polyp off and scrapes or cauterizes the base. If your polyp is very large (this is rare), or if you have several of them, you may have to go to the hospital for removal. Sometimes polyps grow back after removal.