Uterine polyps are growths that are found inside the uterus. Overgrowth of cells in the lining of the uterus (endometrium) leads to the formation of uterine polyps, also known as endometrial polyps. Uterine polyps can be a few millimeters in size, or as large as golf balls. Most polyps are noncancerous (benign), although some can be cancerous or eventually become cancer.
Unsure if you have uterine polyps? Symptoms can include:
- Irregular bleeding such as frequent, unpredictable periods of variable length
- Excessively heavy periods
- Bleeding between periods
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
Risk factors typically include women who are peri-menopausal, menopausal, have high blood pressure, or have been taking medications like Tamoxifen for breast cancer therapy.
If your doctor suspects you have uterine polyps, a pelvic ultrasound may be done. An even better test would be a sonohysterogram where saltwater is injected into the uterus to expand the inside of the uterus in order to look for polyps. Another test is a hysteroscope, where a camera is placed inside the uterus to look for and remove polyps. The polyps can also be removed during this procedure.
If you have irregular bleeding and have risk factors for endometrial cancer, your doctor will do an endometrial biopsy to rule out abnormal overgrowth of the uterine lining or endometrium. Irregular bleeding can be treated with hormones however, this is just a short-term solution.
Dr. Jodie Horton