A bladder polyp is a growth that forms in the lining of a person’s bladder. These growths can be benign, or not cancerous, or they can be malignant, which means they are cancerous. Doctors often recommend that patients have the polyps removed once they are discovered. Many people aren’t aware that they have bladder polyps, however, as they are often present without causing any symptoms.
While it is possible to have a bladder polyp without having any symptoms, common symptoms include blood in the urine, abnormal urine frequency, or painful urination. Sometimes a person with a polyp can see blood in his own urine, indicating he may have a polyp. Others, however, may be unaware of it until a test detects the polyp. If a person doesn't notice any blood, he may see his doctor regarding urinary problems, which may lead to the discovery of a polyp in the bladder.
A cystoscopy is often used to detect a bladder polyp. To perform this procedure, a doctor inserts a small, thin instrument called a cystoscope into the patient’s bladder. This instrument has a light on it and allows the doctor to see inside the bladder. If necessary, the doctor may even insert instruments through the cystoscope, using them to remove small amounts of tissue in a procedure that is called a biopsy. This tissue can then be examined for the presence of cancerous cells.
Often, patients diagnosed with bladder polyps have them removed. In some cases, they are removed so that doctors can determine whether or not they are cancerous. In other cases, they are removed because they are large and may interfere with normal bladder function or cause uncomfortable symptoms. If a bladder polyp is cancerous, removal of it and treatment of the cancer is typically most successful when it is caught early in its development. Often, the patient will make a full recovery.
No one knows what causes bladder polyps to form. There does seem to be a link between smoking, chemical exposure, and their development, however. Men are more prone to developing them than their female counterparts, and polyps are more frequently diagnosed in people who are over 55 years of age. Additionally, a person who has contracted a parasite infection called schistosomiasis may be more likely to develop bladder polyps. The parasite that causes this condition releases eggs that can build up in a patient’s bladder wall, leading to the formation of polyps and possibly cancer.