What Is an Ovarian Polyp?

Benign growths on the surface of the ovaries are referred to as ovarian polyps.
An ultrasound may be performed to determine the shape, size, and type of an ovarian polyp.
Polyps can be removed through a variety of surgical procedures.
Gynecologists can diagnose and treat ovarian polyps.
Symptoms of an ovarian polyp vary depending on the size and location of the polyp.
In some cases, a woman's gynecologist may elect to remove an ovarian polyp in order to prevent infection.
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  • Written By: Nicole Long
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2014
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An ovarian polyp is a benign growth on the surface of an ovary. The two types of polyps that occur on an ovary are pedunculated and sessile polyps. Not all polyps will cause symptoms, but some can lead to difficulties and may require surgical removal.

Polyps form on various mucous membranes throughout the human body. This includes the lining of the colon and the small intestine. Polyps are most commonly found along the lining of the uterus and on the cervix. Various types of polyps include cervical, endometrial, and endocervical polyps.

Gynecologists can diagnose the presence of an ovarian polyp with the use of several tests. Ultrasounds and x-rays are imaging tests that can provide physicians with important information about the size, shape, and type of the ovarian polyp. Regular visits to the gynecologist and pap smears are also important in the diagnosis and treatment of an ovarian polyp.

Pedunculated and sessile polyps can be found on the ovaries. Both stem from an abnormal growth of tissue. Pedunculated polyps have a stalk, or pedicle, which attaches them to the ovary. Sessile polyps attach directly to the ovary with a flat base.

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Symptoms related to an ovarian polyp vary depending on the size and location of the polyp. Those with small polyps may not experience any symptoms at all, and they may only be discovered upon a routine exam or during other testing procedures. Larger polyps can cause bleeding and abdominal cramps. Bleeding can occur outside of normal menstruation, and can also become heavier during menstruation if polyps exist.

Physicians will use a variety of factors to help them determine if removal will be necessary. Observation, such as regularly scheduled ultrasounds, can help physicians track any growth or changes in polyps. Large polyps or those with troubling growth rates may need to be surgically removed.

Polyps can be removed by a variety of surgical procedures. Options include removal by forceps or removal during more complicated procedures, such as a hysterectomy. Surgery typically involving a simple removal is done on an outpatient basis, with instructions to limit activity for several days and take any prescribed pain medication as necessary.

After removal, a biopsy will be done to determine if the growth has become malignant. Malignancy is generally rare with polyps in general, but testing is a necessary part of ensuring the health and safety of the patient. Polyps can typically be attributed to atypical cells and infection.

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andee
Post 3

I have had a history of on ovarian cyst rupture. This was very painful and I had no idea what was going on and thought the worst. I guess this is something that is quite common for some women.

I was told that since this happened to me once, there was a good chance I would have more cysts that would rupture. These cysts must cause symptoms that are similar to polyps because I had bad abdominal cramps that took a long time to go away.

It was a relief to know that the ruptured cysts were not that serious, but they sure were painful, and I really hope it doesn't happen again.

golf07
Post 2

@bagley79 - Since you have a history of ovarian cancer in your family, you are wise to get things checked out and not ignore them. Many times by the time symptoms of ovarian cancer appear, the cancer is already in an advanced stage.

I lost my sister to ovarian cancer, so this is something that weighs heavy on my mind for myself and my daughter. Even though most ovarian polyps are benign, I wouldn't want to take any chances.

So far I have not had any abnormal ovarian symptoms, but I make sure and get tested every year and keep up with my annual exams.

bagley79
Post 1

When I started to have abnormal bleeding I asked my doctor about it at and he immediately did an ultrasound. From what he could initially see, it looked like an ovarian polyp, but he wanted to run more tests to make sure.

I had a grandma that died of ovarian cancer and ever since then I have been always been afraid that any kind of abnormal pain or ovary pain might be cancer.

Thankfully the cause of my bleeding was from ovarian polyps that were benign. I ended up having the polyps removed surgically, but this was not done as a hysterectomy. It was a quick surgery and I was home within a couple of hours.

Ever since then I have not had any more bleeding, but he told me there was a chance I could develop more polyps in the future.

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