Overview

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.

Symptoms

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.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain or tenderness when you press your stomach
  • Nausea
  • Blood in your stool
  • Anemia

When to see a doctor

See your health care provider if you have ongoing blood in your stool or other symptoms of stomach polyps.

Causes

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.

  • Familial adenomatous polyposis. This rare, inherited syndrome causes certain cells on the stomach's inner lining to form a type of polyp called fundic gland polyp. When associated with this syndrome, fundic gland polyps are removed because they can become cancerous. Familial adenomatous polyposis also can 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.

    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.

Risk factors

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 medicines. Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors has been linked to fundic gland polyps. These are medicines used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease.

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