Stomach and pyloric valve
Your stomach is a muscular sac about the size of a small melon that expands when you eat or drink to hold as much as a gallon (about 4 liters) of food or liquid. Once your stomach pulverizes the food, strong muscular contractions (peristaltic waves) push the food toward the pyloric valve, which leads to the upper portion of your small intestine (duodenum).
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 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. Depending on the type of stomach polyp you have, treatment might involve removing the polyp or monitoring it for changes.
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Stomach polyps usually don't cause signs or symptoms.
But as a stomach polyp enlarges, open sores (ulcers) can develop on its surface. Rarely, the polyp can block the opening between your stomach and your small intestine.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Pain or tenderness when you press your stomach
- Blood in your stool
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you have persistent blood in your stool or other signs or symptoms of stomach polyps.
Stomach polyps form in response to damage to your stomach lining. The most common causes of stomach polyps are:
Chronic 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.
- Familial adenomatous polyposis. This rare, inherited syndrome causes certain cells on the stomach's inner lining to form a specific type of polyp called fundic gland polyps. When associated with this syndrome, fundic gland polyps are removed because they can become cancerous. Familial adenomatous polyposis can also cause adenomas.
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.
Fundic gland polyps with a diameter larger than about 2/5 inch (1 centimeter) carry a small risk of cancer, so your doctor might recommend discontinuing proton pump inhibitors or removing the polyp or both.
Factors that increase your chances of developing stomach polyps include:
- Age. Stomach polyps are more common among people in midadulthood to late adulthood.
- 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.
Jan. 16, 2021
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- Chandrasekhara V, et al. eds. Gastric polyps and thickened gastric folds. In: Clinical Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. 3rd ed. Elsevier; 2019. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 14, 2020.
- Nam SY, et al. Effect of Helicobacter pylori eradication on the regression of gastric polyps in National Cancer Screening Program. Korean Journal of Internal Medicine. 2018; doi:110.3904/kjim.2016.286.
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