Vaginal polyps are a type of growth found inside of the vagina. Since the polyps are generally painless and harmless, some women may not even realize she has any. Treating these polyps is contingent upon the symptoms and harmfulness they present. In some cases, no treatment may be needed; in others, chemicals may be used or minor surgical procedures may be performed to remove them.
Detecting polyps generally occurs during a gynecology exam. If they do not cause symptoms, the doctor may not suggest removing them right away. It is impossible to be completely sure the polyps are benign, however, so a doctor may recommend removing a single one to test it for cancerous cells.
Should treatment be needed, the most common way to remove vaginal polyps is with surgery, directly in the doctor's office or in an outpatient clinic. The doctor use a speculum, a surgical mirror, to assist in viewing the exact location of the polyps. Depending on the nature of the polyp, or if the patient prefers it, he may opt to apply local anesthetic, making sure the patient will be comfortable and will not feel any pain. At this point, the doctor will then cut the polyp away. The procedure usually does not take very long.
If the polyps are not cancerous, another form of treatment is possible: obliterating them with lasers or freezing them off with chemicals. Unlike regular surgery, this destroys any chance of a doctor performing a biopsy. If there is any chance that the patient might have cancer, these treatments should be avoided.
Whatever procedure is used to treat vaginal polyps, a woman will often feel some discomfort upon completion. Some patients may feel cramping after the polyps are removed, and others may also experience some vaginal spotting. While uncomfortable, many women still find they are able to resume normal activity without having to turn to the use of pain killers.
Since vaginal polyps are normally free of symptoms, it can be difficult to know when a woman has them. Some women, however, may experience changes that occur directly because of the polyps. For instance, polyps can lead to abnormal discharge or vaginal bleeding in at abnormal points during her menstrual cycle. Additionally, she may feel discomfort or vaginal pain that cannot be explained.