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HealthInfo Canterbury

Cervical polyps

A diagram of the cervix, vagina and uterus, showing cervical polypsA cervical polyp is a common, usually benign (non-cancerous) growth on your cervix, which is the entrance to your womb at the top of your vagina. They're most often found during a routine cervical smear test.

Usually, there are no symptoms with cervical polyps, but sometimes they cause abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as heavy bleeding or bleeding between periods, or changes in your vaginal discharge.

It's important to see your GP if you have any abnormal bleeding or discharge, so they can investigate. You may need some further tests to rule out any serious problems.

Treating cervical polyps

Almost all cervical polyps are benign, but you should have them removed because there's a small risk of malignancy (cancer).

Your GP can usually remove the polyp themselves. It shouldn't hurt, as polyps have no nerve supply, and it's not common to experience heavy bleeding after they're removed. Your GP will send the polyp for histology testing, so the cells and tissues will be examined to check it's not cancerous.

If the polyp is too big or difficult for your GP to remove, they'll refer you to the Christchurch Hospital Gynaecology Outpatient Department for an assessment.

Make sure you don't use tampons or have vaginal intercourse (sex) for two days after the polyp is removed.

You may need to have a smear test three months after the procedure, even if your previous smear test was normal.

Polyps can reoccur. If this happens, they can normally be removed again by your GP.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2021.

Page reference: 49145

Review key: HICES-20461