Uterine polyp is a common condition in women. They grows along the uterine lining. Overgrown endometerium cells lead to uterine polyps. They are also called endometrial polyps. It is possible to have more than one polyp. It ranges in size from few millimeters ( seed size) to centimeters ( ball size or larger). They normally grow within the uterus, and rearly into the vagina through the cervix—the lowermost part of the uterus.
There is no definitive reason what causes uterine polyps to grow. But studies link them to the following:
- Estrogen levels: Estrogen level plays an important factor High level of estrogen can cause uterine polyps.
- Inflammation: Prolong inflammation of female reproductive system parts like uterus, vagina and cervix.
Risk factors mainly include the factors which increase the estrogen levels.
Related to high estrogen levels:
- Pregnancies & Child bearing years: Estrogen levels are extremely high during pregnancies and child bearing years which can result in uterine polyps
- Pre-menopausal age: After reaching menopause the estrogen levels drop, but just before menopause there is a spike in the levels of estrogen.
- Obesity: Fat cells produce estrogen.
You may not experience any symptoms initially,most of the symptoms of uterine polyps are related to the menstrual cycle.
- Bleeding between menstrual cycles.
- Bleeding after menopause
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Severe menstrual periods
The diagnosis may involve pelvic exam, ultrasound, hysterosonogram and endometrial biopsy.
- Pelvic examination: Pelvic examination is a routine screening test wherein the doctor examines various organs such as vulva, ovaries & uterus from outside. The doctor may also use speculum – a device which helps the doctor to view the patient’s cervix and inspect it for abnormalities.
- Transvaginal Ultrasound: Ultrasound is an imaging technique which uses ultrasound waves to create an image/video of the internal organs of the patient.
- Hysterosonogram: A hysterosonogram or HSN is also known by the names sonohysterogram, saline ultrasound, saline sonogram, or saline infusion sonogram. A hysterosonogram is a minimally invasive ultrasound procedure that can determine if there are abnormalities inside the uterus that might interfere with pregnancy.
- Endometrial Biopsy: Sometimes the doctor may recommend an endometrial biopsy. Here, the doctor will try to obtain sample tissues from the uterine lining for analysis. the sample of tissue is analyzed under a microscope in the laboratory by a pathologist, a doctor with special training in diagnosis of diseases based upon tissue examination.
Depending on the size of the polyp, the doctor may recommend one of the following treatments.
- Watchful waiting: Polyps which are small in size may go away themselves. Medically, there is no reason to treat small polyps unless they are cancerous.
- Medication: Medication can help to give relief from any symtoms but such relief is likely to be temporary, because there are chances of polyps to come back when the medication is stopped.
- Hysteroscopy: Hysteroscopy is a procedure in which the doctor inserts a small, lighted instrument known as the hysteroscope through the patient’s natural orifices. This instrument relays images on the screen, which helps the doctor to inspect the inner organs of the patient and remove the polyps.