Endometrial polyps, or uterine polyps, develop when cells of the inner lining of the uterus overgrow. These growths range in size and protrude into the uterus but typically cause no symptoms.
Endometrial polyps can affect anyone with a uterus. Typically, they are not cancerous but can sometimes cause problems that need a medical checkup.
Most people with endometrial polyps do not know they have them, as they often have no symptoms. Some may experience atypical bleeding, such as with longer than average periods of bleeding between periods.
This article explores endometrial polyps, including their causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and more.
Endometrial polyps are an overgrowth of the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus. Endometrial tissue grows in response to certain hormones, mainly estrogen.
Some people may form polyps and some may not — this could be due to certain genetic causes that affect cell growth and cell death.
However, in some cases, people can experience atypical uterine bleeding. This may present as longer menstrual periods or unexpected bleeding between periods.
A person with either of these symptoms may need further evaluation by their gynecologist.
Polyps may also cause problems with fertility or becoming pregnant depending on several factors, such as size, location, and number of polyps in the uterus.
If a gynecologist suspects a person may have endometrial polyps, they may order a transvaginal ultrasound. To perform this test, a doctor will insert a small wand into the vaginal cavity and apply ultrasounds to create images of the inside of the uterus.
Saline infusion sonography is the
Managing endometrial polyps depends on several factors, including:
- the presence of symptoms
- the risk of cancerous polyps
- fertility concerns
For small polyps that are not causing symptoms, the doctor may suggest a watchful waiting approach. Sometimes, small polyps
If polyps do need treatment, doctors
Doctors may consider performing a dilatation and curettage, or D&C. This technique involves placing a suction device or instrument transvaginally into the uterus and removing the endometrial lining. A hysterectomy, or removal of the entire uterus, may be necessary in rare cases where a polyp is cancerous.
Most endometrial polyps are not harmful. However, there is around a
Endometrial polyps can sometimes cause infertility. In people experiencing primary infertility, the incidence of having these growths ranges from
If a person is experiencing irregular or heavy menstrual bleeding, bleeding between periods, or has concerns about fertility, they may wish to consult a gynecologist.
Having a timely evaluation can help diagnose and manage the condition effectively. Because of the small risk of cancer, it is best not to delay seeking consultation with a doctor.
Endometrial polyps are benign growths that can affect people with uteruses of all ages. While the exact cause remains unknown, it may have to do with estrogen exposure or genetic abnormalities.
Most uterine polyps do not cause symptoms but can sometimes cause irregular uterine bleeding, generating heavy periods or spotting between periods.
Diagnosis typically involves imaging techniques such as transvaginal ultrasound or saline infusion sonography. Depending on the severity, treatment options may include conservative management or surgical removal.