Urinary Bladder Polyps
Polyps are growths of the bladder mucosa that grow into the bladder cavity. More general text dedicated to polyps (that can occur in virtually any hollow organ in the body) can be found here.
The cause of polyp formation is usually not known. Their occurrence is more common in older people and the risk factors include smoking and chronic exposure to various industrial chemicals (particularly various organic substances). In tropic areas, we should not forget a parasitic disease known as schistosomiasis, where the parasites live within the bladder and irritate its wall. Early stages of the urinary bladder cancer have also frequently the shape of polyps.
Polyps can be found randomly during an abdominal ultrasound examination. It is important to perform the ultrasonography in a patient with filled bladder as it increase the chance to detect the polyps. Urinalysis may be important for detection of blood in urine. The best examination procedure, however, is the cystoscopy with the introduction of an endoscopic device through the urethra, when the doctor can examine the bladder cavity visually with a possibility to take samples for histological examination.
Scheme showing the examination of urinary bladder by an endoscopic instrument inserted through the urethra (cystoscopy)
Given the difficulty to distinguish benign polyps from malignant bladder tumors, it is the best solution to perform a therapeutic cystoscopy and cut the polyps off. The tumor polyps have a tendency to recur and therefore, the patients should be regularly checked by urologists after the intervention.