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What Causes a Bladder Polyp?

A cutaway of a female body showing the bladder in dark pink.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2014
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Typically, doctors are unable to determine the specific causes of bladder polyps. There are, however, some cases in which the cause is easier to pinpoint; in such cases, a parasitic infection is usually the problem. A parasitic infection is, however, more likely to be the cause of a bladder polyp in an individual who has contracted an infection in South America, Africa, or an island in the Caribbean. Despite the fact that causes of bladder polyps are often unknown, there are some risk factors that make a person more likely to develop them. For example, an individual may be more likely to develop polyps if he is over the age of 55, smokes tobacco products, or had prolonged exposure to industrial chemicals.

Unlike many other medical conditions, it is typically difficult to determine the cause of a bladder polyp. In many cases, a doctor will begin to treat the condition while the cause remains unknown. One potential cause is more likely to affect people who live in or have visited the Caribbean, South America, or some areas of Africa. These people may become infected with Schistosoma parasites, which lay eggs in the bladder and can contribute to the development of a bladder polyp. This is most likely to occur in developing countries.

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Though the cause of bladder polyps are usually unknown, an individual may be more likely to develop them if he is over the age of 55. An individual may face an increased risk if he is a smoker as well. Likewise, doctors and scientists believe the use of and exposure to industrial chemicals increase a person’s risk of developing the condition. It is important to note, however, that avoiding tobacco smoke and industrial chemicals does not guarantee that a person will not develop a bladder polyp.

Doctors typically focus on treating the condition instead of trying to determining the cause. In many cases, this treatment involves the surgical removal of bladder polyps for the purpose of determining whether they are cancerous or benign. Sometimes, however, doctors work to determine whether they are cancerous without removing them. A doctor may perform a cystoscopy, which involves the insertion of a medical tool into the urethra and then into the bladder. Using this tool, a doctor can locate polyps, and in some cases, remove tissue that will be analyzed for the presence of cancerous cells.

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