Uterine Polyps: Causes, Risk Factors & Treatment
Polyps represent protrusions of the uterine and cervical lining in the form of a fungus (polyps resemble with warts, but they grow inside the organs).
Uterine polyps are formed due to the exaggerated growth of the mucous lining that covers the inner surface of the uterus (endometrium), and cervical polyps are formed due to the exaggerated growth of the cervix (endocervix) mucosa.
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What Causes the Development of Uterine Polyps and Cervical Polyps?
One of the main reasons for the development of polyps is a hormonal imbalance in the woman’s body. Less common is the possibility of the polyp formation due to chronic genital infections.
Uterine polyps and cervix polyps are more common in women over 45-50 years of age but can also develop in younger women.
Uterine and cervical polyps can lead to cancer. The transformation of polyps into cancer occurs in approximately 1.5% of cases.
Symptoms & Signs
Symptoms and signs of uterine and cervix polyps may include:
- Vaginal bleeding during or after sexual intercourse.
- Pain during intercourse.
- Light vaginal bleeding that is not related to menstruation.
- Prolonged and abnormal menstrual bleeding.
- Problems of conceiving a child.
Symptoms of the polyps listed above are only seen in a small number of women with this medical condition. In the vast majority of cases, uterine and cervical polyps show no symptoms and are detected, either during preventive gynecological examinations or in the case of control of another disease.
In women during menopause, any vaginal bleeding regardless of its severity (abundant or mild), duration and frequency, should be considered as a very worrying sign and as a possible symptom of cancer or hyperplasia. – More info!
If you are over 40-50 years old and notice a bleeding after you have not had a menstrual cycle for several months (or years) – contact your doctor for a consultation and medical check-up as soon as possible.
So as mentioned, uterine polyps occur in women aged 40 – 50 years. The risk factors for this condition include:
- The history of cervical polyps.
It is estimated that endometrial polyp is present in 25% of women with abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Tamoxifen and supplemental hormone therapy may increase the risk of polyps. Using the intrauterine levonorgestrel system in women taking tamoxifen may reduce the incidence of polyps. Endometrial polyps occur in 10% of women.
Analyzes and Examinations for Polyp Detection
The main investigations that help diagnose uterine and cervical polyps are: gynecological examinations, hysteroscopy and uterine ultrasounds:
- General gynecological examination (examination of the valves) – allows the doctor to examine the walls of the vagina and vaginal parts of the cervix. During the inspection, the gynecologist may notice the polyp that is dropped down from the cervical canal.
- Ultrasound of the uterus – helps the doctor estimate the size and structure of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries, and determine the thickness and structure of the endometrium.
- Hysteroscopy allows the examination of the cervical and uterine cavity with a special video camera. On hysteroscopy, the polyps have the appearance of curved thickenings of the uterine and cervical lining. In order to ensure that a polyp is not cancer, during the hysteroscopy, the doctor can take a small piece of polyp tissue to study it later under a microscope (biopsy). In some cases, hysteroscopy even allows the removal of polyps.
The treatment of uterine and cervical polyps depends on the woman’s age, the possible cause of the polyps, the general condition of the woman, her desire to have children in the future, and the results of histological examination of the tissue obtained during hysteroscopy.
The main treatment of polyps without signs of cancer transformation is their removal during hysteroscopy. This operation is done quickly and does not leave scars. The post-surgery recovery, after which the removal of the polyps has taken place, is rapid. See How to perform hysteroscopy.
A repeated visit to the gynecologist to check the efficacy of the treatment can be planned within a few weeks or a few months after hysteroscopy.
In cases where the polyp tissue analysis shows the presence of cancer cells, your doctor may recommend a more complex treatment.
Within 2-3 weeks after removing the polyps, a mild or mucous bloody leakage may occur from the vagina. Also, some minor pain is possible in the perineum area or lower abdomen. As a rule, these symptoms disappear quickly and require no special treatment. In case of severe pain, you can take analgesic preparations (e.g. 1 tablet of Ibuprofen). – Read more!
Within 2-3 weeks after surgery, it is not recommended:
- Have sexual contacts.
- Use vaginal swabs (you can only use simple absorbents).
- Do vaginal cleansing.
- Take a bath, go to the sauna or steam bath (take a shower).
- Do hard physical work or intensive physical exercise.
- Take medicines based on acetylsalicylic acid (for example, Aspirin).
Contact your doctor if you have severe vaginal bleeding, fever, chills or severe abdominal pain after surgery.
Any Popular Remedies?
The use of any popular remedies for the treatment of uterine and cervical polyps is not recommended for the following reasons:
- The vast majority of popular remedies for uterine and cervical polyps involves vaginal cleansing or vaginal insertion of swabs soaked in medicinal infusions that can only exacerbate the condition of the woman and lead to the development of dangerous complications.
- At present, there is no popular polyp treatment with proven efficacy and safety, which would allow the elimination of the cause of polyps as well as the modified tissue parts that can lead to cancer.