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What is a Uterus Polyp?

A uterine polyp is a growth attached to the inner wall of the uterus that extends into the uterine cavity. Arising from the endometrial tissue, these polyps are usually benign but can cause symptoms like irregular menstrual bleeding and infertility. Curious about how these polyps look and their impact on health? Continue exploring with us for a clearer picture.
J.M. Willhite
J.M. Willhite

A uterus polyp, also known as an endometrial polyp, is an abnormal growth that affixes itself to the interior wall of the uterus. Resulting from an overgrowth of cells, uterine polyps can be a recurrent condition requiring several treatments. At the first sign of any menstrual abnormality or pelvic discomfort, medical attention should be sought due to the risks and complications associated with uterine polyps.

Polyps that develop in the uterus originate from an overgrowth of cells within the lining of the uterus. As they mature, the polyps affix themselves directly to the lining of the uterus or, in some cases, by a stem-like structure. Uterine polyps are generally small and malleable, as opposed to fibroids, which are comprised of firm muscle and are much larger in size.

There is no known cause for uterine polyps.
There is no known cause for uterine polyps.

Ranging in size from that of a small seed to as large as a ping pong ball, there is no known cause for uterine polyps. It has been suggested that hormones may contribute to uterus polyp development, but a direct correlation has not been established. Increased estrogen levels have been documented in women with uterus polyps and it has been asserted that increased levels may contribute to polyp growth. Women who have taken tamoxifen, an estrogen disruptor used in breast cancer treatment, are at an increased risk of developing uterine polyps.

Women with uterine polyps may experience bleeding between menstrual periods.
Women with uterine polyps may experience bleeding between menstrual periods.

It is not uncommon for women to be diagnosed as having multiple polyps at one time. The presence of a uterus polyp can cause a variety of symptoms including irregular menstruation, bleeding between menstrual periods, and vaginal bleeding following menopause. It is also possible for a woman to have uterine polyps without experiencing any symptoms at all. Medical attention should be sought at the first sign of any menstrual irregularities or pelvic discomfort.

Obese women in their 40s are at an increased risk of developing uterine polyps.
Obese women in their 40s are at an increased risk of developing uterine polyps.

A variety of tests may be used to confirm the presence of a uterus polyp. A transvaginal ultrasound utilizes sound waves, introduced into the vagina through a long, slender device, to create an image of the uterus making the polyps visible. In order to obtain a clearer view of the interior of the uterus, hysterosonography may be administered, which involves the introduction of saline to expand the uterine cavity. A hysteroscopy allows for an examination of the uterus as well as the removal of polyps that are found, eliminating the necessity of a secondary procedure.

Uterus polyps are generally noncancerous.
Uterus polyps are generally noncancerous.

There are a several treatment approaches for uterine polyps that are dependent on recurrence and severity. An annual physical and Pap smear may detect the presence of a uterus polyp for women who are asymptomatic, or not experiencing any symptoms. In cases where the polyps are small and there are no symptoms, a wait and watch approach is generally taken. Smaller polyps will usually go away without treatment. Larger polyps may be treated for the short-term with hormonal medications to shrink the polyp and alleviate symptoms.

Uterus polyps may be discovered during a routine pap smear.
Uterus polyps may be discovered during a routine pap smear.

Uterus polyps are generally benign, or noncancerous, though in persistently recurrent cases, a biopsy may be taken as a precaution. When a biopsy is necessary, a procedure called curettage is performed. This procedure uses a long, thin metal instrument outfitted with a loop on the end, called a curet, to scrape the interior walls of the uterus and remove the polyp. Biopsy results that are indicative of the presence of cancer may require a hysterectomy, or the surgical removal of the uterus.

Uterine polyps may increase the risk of miscarriage.
Uterine polyps may increase the risk of miscarriage.

Women in their 40s and 50s who are obese, have high blood pressure, or have experienced cervical polyps in the past are at an increased risk for developing uterine polyps. The risk of infertility as a result of uterine polyps is still a matter of much controversy. Uterine polyps may increase the risk of miscarriage for pregnant women who have undergone in vitro fertilization (IFV).

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Discussion Comments

anon336989

As large as a ping pong ball? I just had a hysterectomy where my uterus was twice its normal size with a polyp that was much larger than a ping pong ball.

vogueknit17

If you do find that a laparoscopy is not enough to fix your uterine pain symptoms, good luck getting your uterus removed. I am in my early 20s and have been suffering from endometriosis since I was in my early teens- it took nearly ten years to get the diagnosis, and now no one will perform the surgery which I know will be necessary eventually, because I'm too young and, basically, I'm supposed to have babies first. So again, good luck getting surgery and convincing people you know what you want, if having babies is not one of the things you want.

behaviourism

The problem of having a polyp in the uterus, if it happens repeatedly and/or is accompanied by intense pain, can be a symptom of endometriosis. Sometimes referred to as uterine cysts, these growths cause extensive pain during menstruation and can even cause pain at other times of a woman's cycle. However, there are a few treatment options. Some women just get a laparoscopy to remove them, while others eventually need parts of their uterus removed.

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    • There is no known cause for uterine polyps.
      By: designua
      There is no known cause for uterine polyps.
    • Women with uterine polyps may experience bleeding between menstrual periods.
      By: Magdalena Żurawska
      Women with uterine polyps may experience bleeding between menstrual periods.
    • Obese women in their 40s are at an increased risk of developing uterine polyps.
      By: berc
      Obese women in their 40s are at an increased risk of developing uterine polyps.
    • Uterus polyps are generally noncancerous.
      By: fixer00
      Uterus polyps are generally noncancerous.
    • Uterus polyps may be discovered during a routine pap smear.
      By: Zsolnai Gergely
      Uterus polyps may be discovered during a routine pap smear.
    • Uterine polyps may increase the risk of miscarriage.
      By: Ermolaev Alexandr
      Uterine polyps may increase the risk of miscarriage.
    • It is not uncommon for women to be diagnosed as having multiple polyps at a time.
      By: Marin Conic
      It is not uncommon for women to be diagnosed as having multiple polyps at a time.