How to Treat Uterine Polyps
Uterine polyps, also called endometrial polyps, are benign growths that develop in the uterus cavity, often in its lining - the endometrium. These are present more frequently in women over 40 years of age. Uterine polyps can be very small and asymptomatic, but they can also grow to reach a considerable size and cause symptoms such as abnormal uterine bleeding and infertility. Although there is a minimal risk of uterine polyps leading to cancer, it is always advisable to remain vigilant and see a gynecologist when noticing abnormal signs.
Read this OneHowTo article to know in detail how to treat uterine polyps as well as what are their causes and symptoms.
Causes of uterine polyps
The exact causes of endometrial polyp growths on the cervix or inside the cavity of the uterus is unknown, but experts have pointed out that there are certain factors that increase the risk of developing them:
- High estrogen: When levels of these hormones - mainly produced by the ovaries - rise there is a greater propensity to develop polyps in the uterus.
- Age: Uterine polyps are seen more often in women who are in their pre- and post-menopause phase.
- Administration of hormonal treatments in post-menopausal women.
- Taking tamoxifen, a drug used in the treatment of breast cancer, may favor the development of polyps in the uterus.
- High blood pressure.
- Certain uncommon conditions such as Lynch syndrome or Cowden syndrome.
Symptoms of uterine polyps
It is common for uterine polyps to be a asymptomatic, and consequently most are not discovered until a routine gynecological examination such as a smear test, a pelvic ultrasound or a hysteroscopy.
However, some common symptoms - when they are manifest - include the following:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding: Bleeding between periods or after sex.
- Menstruation with abundant and prolonged bleeding.
- Anemia, low iron levels which can occur due to the bleeding mentioned above.
- Pain due to cervical dilation: This is a symptom that may occur in cases of large polyps that prolapse and exit through the opening of the cervix.
- Infertility: When polyps are multiple and/or of considerable size the chances of pregnancy are greatly reduced. These affect the smooth movement of the sperm and makes embryo implantation difficult.
- Spontaneous abortions.
It is important to note that the severity of symptoms can vary from one patient to another, as these depend on both the size and number of polyps as well as their location.
How to treat uterine polyps
Faced with abnormal vaginal bleeding or very heavy periods, it is essential that you go see a doctor or gynecologist as soon as possible. The specialist will perform a vaginal ultrasound to see if there is any anomalies in the uterus cavity; if uterine polyps are suspected they will perform a hysteroscopy, a test that can accurately diagnose them.
In some cases, a sonohysterography can be carried out during an ultrasound. In this procedure, serum is inserted into the uterine cavity through a thin tube in order to see the polyp or polyps with greater clarity.
Generally, the treatment for uterine polyps consists of small outpatient surgery to remove the growths. As we already mentioned, the technique used is the hysteroscopy, which allows the removal of the polyp with an electrocautery or small scissors and is performed under local anesthesia or sedation. Only in cases where the endometrial polyps are very small and do not cause symptoms is the idea of not removing them entertained; although medical monitoring of their development will be carried out.
Although the risk is quite small and it is exceptional that uterine polyps give way to endometrial cancer, if there is a family history of this disease or the physician is suspicious, once the polyps have been removed these will be analysed in the laboratory to confirm is they were benign or malignant growths. The risk of malignancy of the uterine polyps is higher during menopause.
Is it possible to become pregnant if you have uterine polyps?
The answer to this question is yes; it has been found that polyps that do not exceed 2 cm in size do not reduce the chances of getting pregnant.
However, it is true that these growths in the womb have been linked to infertility. If their size is larger than that, though, they can hinder the process considerably by preventing proper implantation of the embryo and increase the risk of spontaneous abortions.
Therefore, women who wish to become pregnant should undergo a hysteroscopy to remove polyps and so conceive successfully. Other options like assisted reproduction treatments can also be evaluated should a natural pregnancy not be achieved.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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