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Stomach polyps

Stomach polyps are masses of cells that form on the inside lining of your stomach. Stomach polyps, also called gastric polyps, are rare.

Stomach polyps usually don't cause any signs or symptoms. The polyps are most often discovered when your doctor is examining you for some other reason.

Most stomach polyps don't become cancerous, but certain types can increase your risk of stomach cancer in the future. For this reason, some stomach polyps are removed and others are not treated.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors

Stomach polyps usually don't cause signs or symptoms. But as a stomach polyp enlarges, open sores (ulcers) may develop on its surface. In rare occurrences, the polyp blocks the opening between your stomach and your small intestine.

If you have stomach polyps, you may experience:

  • Pain or tenderness when you press your stomach area (abdomen)
  • Bleeding
  • Anemia

When to see a doctor

If you have any persistent signs or symptoms that worry you, make an appointment with your doctor.

Stomach polyps form in response to swelling (inflammation) or other damage to the lining of the stomach. The most common types of stomach polyps are:

  • Hyperplastic polyps, which form as a reaction to chronic inflammation in the cells that line the inside of the stomach. Hyperplastic polyps are most common in people with stomach inflammation (gastritis). This association may be related to Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a type of bacteria that infects the inner lining of the stomach. Most hyperplastic polyps are unlikely to become stomach cancer. But hyperplastic polyps larger than about 3/4 inch (2 centimeters) in diameter have a greater risk of becoming cancerous.
  • Fundic gland polyps, which form from the glandular cells on the inside lining of the stomach. Fundic gland polyps which occur in people with a rare, inherited syndrome called familial adenomatous polyposis are removed because those polyps can become cancerous.

    Fundic gland polyps are common among people who regularly take certain medications to reduce stomach acid (proton pump inhibitors). Fundic gland polyps aren't a cause for concern for these people unless they're larger than 2/5 inch (1 centimeter) in diameter. The cancer risk in these large polyps is very small, but some doctors recommend discontinuing proton pump inhibitors or removing the polyp or both.

  • Adenomas, which also form from the glandular cells on the inside lining of the stomach. Adenomas are the least common type of stomach polyp, but the most likely type to become stomach cancer. Adenomas are associated with stomach inflammation and familial adenomatous polyposis.

Factors that increase your chances of developing stomach polyps include:

  • Age. Stomach polyps are more common among people age 50 and older.
  • Bacterial stomach infection. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria are a common cause of the gastritis that contributes to hyperplastic polyps and adenomas.
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis. This rare, inherited syndrome increases the risk of colon cancer and other conditions, including stomach polyps.
  • Certain medications. Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors, which are medications used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, has been linked to fundic gland polyps.
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