These masses of cells that form on your stomach lining usually don't cause symptoms. Learn what causes them and when to be concerned.
Stomach polyps — also called gastric polyps — are masses of cells that form on the lining inside your stomach. These polyps are rare and usually don't cause any signs or symptoms.
Stomach polyps are most often discovered when your health care provider is examining you for some other reason.
Most stomach polyps don't become cancerous. But certain types can increase your risk of stomach cancer. Depending on the type of stomach polyp you have, treatment might involve removing the polyp or monitoring it for changes.
Your stomach is a muscular sac about the size of a small melon that expands when you eat or drink. It holds as much as a gallon (3.8 liters) of food or liquid. Once your stomach breaks down the food, strong muscular contractions known as peristaltic waves push the food toward the pyloric valve. This valve leads to the upper portion of your small intestine, a segment known as the duodenum.
Stomach polyps usually don't cause symptoms.
But as a stomach polyp enlarges, open sores called ulcers can develop on its surface. Rarely, the polyp can block the opening between your stomach and your small intestine.
See your health care provider if you have ongoing blood in your stool or other symptoms of stomach polyps.
Stomach polyps form in response to damage to your stomach lining. The most common causes of stomach polyps are:
Long-lasting stomach inflammation. Also known as gastritis, this condition can cause the formation of hyperplastic polyps and adenomas. Hyperplastic polyps are unlikely to become cancerous, although those larger than about 2/5 inch (1 centimeter) carry a greater risk.
Adenomas are the least common type of stomach polyp but the type most likely to become cancerous. For that reason, they are generally removed.
Regular use of certain stomach medications. Fundic gland polyps are common among people who regularly take proton pump inhibitors to reduce stomach acid. These polyps are generally small and aren't a cause for concern.
A fundic gland polyp with a diameter larger than about 2/5 inch (1 centimeter) carries a small risk of cancer. Your health care provider might recommend stopping proton pump inhibitors or removing the polyp or both.
Factors that increase your chances of developing stomach polyps include:
Tests and procedures used to diagnose stomach polyps include:
Treatment depends on the type of stomach polyps you have:
Your provider will likely recommend follow-up endoscopy to check for recurring polyps.
If you have gastritis caused by H. pylori bacteria in your stomach, your provider will likely recommend treatment with a combination of medicines, including antibiotics. Treating an H. pylori infection can make hyperplastic polyps disappear and also might stop polyps from recurring.
You might start by seeing your primary health care provider or you might be referred to a provider who specializes in the digestive system (gastroenterologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as fasting before having a specific test. Make a list of:
Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.
For stomach polyps, some questions to ask include:
Don't hesitate to ask other questions.
Your provider is likely to ask you questions about your symptoms, such as: