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What Is a Bleeding Polyp?

By Drue Tibbits
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Polyps are tissue growths that project into a body cavity or passage. They appear in the colon, in the uterus, and on the cervix. A bleeding polyp is one that has been ripped, torn, or ruptured, causing it to release blood into the surrounding area. Most polyps are benign growths, although some can be malignant or premalignant. All polyps are susceptible to bleeding, but those that have a raised formation are more prone to injury.

These growths may or may not cause symptoms, and some patients are not aware they have polyps. In the colon, they may cause a change in normal bowel movements. Those that are in the uterus may cause an increase in cramping during menstrual periods. Cervical polyps can cause bleeding between menstrual periods as well as pain during intercourse. Sinus polyps can interfere with normal mucus drainage and cause clogged sinuses and headaches.

Sometimes, the first indication that a patient has an abnormal growth is when he or she develops a bleeding polyp. A bleeding polyp is not indicative of cancer; it is only a symptom of an injured polyp. When it occurs in the colon, the patient may test positive on a fecal blood test. Cervical polyps may rupture during intercourse and begin to bleed. The act of sneezing or blowing the nose can tear a sinus polyp, resulting in blood-tinged mucus.

Doctors diagnose most polyps by visual examination. Ultrasounds can sometimes reveal larger polyps. Polyps that are on the cervix, uterus, or sinuses are rarely cancerous and are usually only removed if they are troublesome or bleeding. Medical professionals always remove colon polyps, as this can be the first sign of colon cancer. No matter where it is located, a bleeding polyp is almost always removed to stop the bleeding and prevent future recurrence.

Polyps that are on a raised stalk are easier to remove than those that are flat. Raised polyps can be surgically removed by twisting them or tying them off at their bases. Doctors remove both raised and flat polyps by cauterizing them with an electric current or cutting them with wire loop biopsy forceps. Patients usually require only local anesthesia during the removal process, except those that occur in the colon, which are usually taken out during a colonoscopy procedure while the patient is sedated. Unless there are other concerns about a patient's health, the removal is an outpatient procedure.

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Discussion Comments

By anon965566 — On Aug 13, 2014

I had been bleeding for two months -- spotting most of the time with a brownish color and it was really smelly. I went to my doctor and she did a smear test -- all negative. She sent me to a gynecologist and he found a vaginal polyp. The gynecologist immediately removed it and the bleeding stopped. Samples will be biopsied to be sure it's benign.

By SarahSon — On Oct 22, 2011

If you have polyps in your colon, this is something that they watch pretty closely. My dad had colon cancer over 25 years ago, and still goes for regular exams.

It is not unusual for them to find polyps, and they always remove them and send them in for a pathology reading.

My husband also has polyps in his colon that have been removed. Both his mom and dad had colon cancer so this is something they keep a close eye on with him.

None of his polyps have been bleeding, but they always remove them to make sure. He doesn't notice any pain with them, but has to be checked more often than most people.

By Mykol — On Oct 21, 2011

I was having some irregular bleeding and found out I had bleeding polyps in my uterus. I had an ultrasound and a biopsy done before my doctor decided to go ahead and remove the polyps.

He said that they can turn in to cancer about 5% of the time and didn't want to take any chances.

Once I had the polyps removed, the abnormal bleeding stopped and I even noticed less cramping than I had before.

I am glad I had the surgery to have them removed so I don't have to worry about them turning into cancer. I also don't have that annoying bleeding that was causing me to worry.

By StarJo — On Oct 21, 2011

My mother saw a doctor after she saw bright red blood on her toilet paper after a bowel movement. He told her he wanted her to have a colonoscopy to check for colon cancer.

She was very worried about this, so she followed his instructions. He gave her a laxative that would totally clear out her colon for the procedure.

She said her intestines cramped horribly because of the laxative, and she felt exhausted once everything finally left her system.

The doctor sedated her before inserting the tube into her colon. He found and removed bleeding polyps, but fortunately, they were benign.

By orangey03 — On Oct 20, 2011

I discovered that I had uterine polyps seven years ago. In spite of my strangely heavy periods and random bleeding between periods, my husband and I were trying to have a baby. My body just didn’t seem to want to cooperate.

I went to see a doctor about the situation, but my main concern was not being able to get pregnant. He told me that I was infertile because I had polyps in my uterus.

He told me I should have them removed if I wanted to have a child. So, I set up an appointment for surgery.

The surgeon scraped the inside of my uterus. He used a long instrument that had a loop attached to it to scrape off the polyps.

He told me that the polyps had a good chance of returning. I told him that all I needed was a little time to get pregnant, which I did, by the way. The labor and delivery went fine, but I did develop more polyps a year later.

By kylee07drg — On Oct 20, 2011

@cloudel - I know how frustrating nasal polyp issues can be. I ended up having surgery to remove mine, because I was so tired of walking around snotty and congested all the time. Also, my mucus was starting to have blood in it, and I knew that couldn’t be good.

My doctor stuck a tube with a camera on its end up my nose and into my sinuses. He cut out the polyps with small instruments. Then, he had to widen the area between my nasal passages and my sinuses.

I was pretty freaked out once he told me he had widened the inside of my nose, but once the swelling went down, I didn’t look any different on the surface. Now that the polyps are gone, I can finally breathe as well as most people.

By cloudel — On Oct 19, 2011

I had nasal polyps a few years ago. My sinuses seemed to stay infected, and the fact that I had allergy problems year round didn’t help.

Sometimes, when I would blow my nose, I would see blood on the tissue. It was never dripping out of my nose, but it was enough to make me wonder what was going on in there.

My doctor diagnosed me with chronic sinusitus. She said the blood was from polyps in my sinuses. She also said we needed to get rid of the polyps, because they could be exacerbating my condition.

She gave me a corticosteroid spray to use in my nose. She said it would shrink the polyps away to nothing. She also gave me a prescription antihistamine.

I can breathe much easier now. My allergies have quieted down a lot, and since the polyps are gone, I don’t get as many sinus infections.

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