What Causes Esophageal Polyps?

Esophageal polyps are most commonly caused by erosive esophagitis, ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux and reflux esophagitis, according to LearningRadiology.com. Four different types of esophageal polyps, or polyp-like lesions in the esophagus, have been identified by medical science.

Small polyps usually do not show symptoms and are generally rare in the overall populace. Fibrovascular polyps and papillomas are more common in patients older than 50, notes LearningRadiology.com. Esophageal polyps that are small enough, and without symptoms, are detected by endoscopy cameras while investigating other medical conditions. Fibrovascular polyps form in the upper third of the esophagus. Lesions as large as 20 centimeters have been reported, although most fibrovascular polyps are small and benign. Large lesions may cause dysphagia, chronic coughing, nausea and vomiting. These polyps are removed by a special endoscope with a small pair of surgical scissors on the end.

Adenomas are normally associated with Barrett’s esophagus, a serious condition that arises out of gastroesophageal reflux disease wherein the lining of the esophagus resembles that of the small intestine. Small, isolated adenomas can be removed by endoscopes, but larger ones may require surgery, states LearningRadiology.com. Less than 1 percent of patients with Barrett’s esophagus develop esophageal cancer, according to WebMD.

Inflammatory fibroid polyps primarily occur due to acid reflux near the juncture of the esophagus and the stomach. These polyps are generally benign, and they can cause bleeding or an upset stomach, explains LearningRadiology.com.