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Definition

Endometrial polyps or uterine polyps are growths attached to the interior wall of the uterus that expand into the uterine cavity. Excess growth of cells in the endometrium leads to the formation of endometrial polyps. They are by and large noncancerous, though they could turn out to be cancerous in future.

Uterine polyps vary in size from a few millimeters to a number of centimeters. They affix to the uterine wall by a big base or a thin stalk.

A woman can have one or several endometrial polyps. They usually stay enclosed within the uterus, but seldom, they slide down through the gap of the uterus into the vagina. Endometrial polyps generally occur in women who are in the course of or have attained menopause, though younger women can get them too.

Symptoms

Signs of endometrial polyps consist of:

  • Irregular period bleeding
  • Bleeding between the menstrual periods
  • Extreme heavy menstrual periods
  • Vaginal bleeding post menopause
  • Infertility

Risk Factors

Risk factors for developing uterine polyps include:

  • Being perimenopausal or postmenopausal
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Intake of tamoxifen, a drug cure for breast cancer

Diagnosis

If the doctor suspects uterine polyps, one of the following will be performed:

  • Transvaginal ultrasound
  • Hysteroscopy
  • Endometrial biopsy

Most endometrial polyps are benign. Nevertheless, some precancerous changes of the uterus or uterine cancers appear as endometrial polyps. The doctor will suggest removal of the polyp and will send a tissue sample for lab examination.

Treatment

For endometrial polyps, the doctor might recommend:

Watchful Waiting: Undersized polyps without signs might resolve on their own. Treatment of small polyps is unnecessary unless there is a risk of uterine cancer.

Medication

Some hormonal medications, including progestins and gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, may reduce the symptoms. But taking such medications is usually a short-term solution at best as the symptoms reappear once medication is stopped.

Surgery

Polyps can be removed during hysteroscopy, and sent for histopathological analysis. Depending on the result, further action can be taken.

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