Uterine polyps (also known as endometrial polyps) are over-growths of uterine lining. These polyps are almost always benign, especially in women of reproductive age. However, as they can be cancerous, polyps should always be evaluated.
Symptoms of uterine polyps include
- irregular bleeding
- heavy menstrual bleeding
Why do polyps grow?
We are not sure exactly what causes uterine polyps, but we do know that they grow in response to estrogen exposure. Women who have irregular periods and women who are overweight are more likely to have polyps.
Finding endometrial polyps
Sometimes polyps can be seen during a routine transvaginal ultrasound. An HSG can also detect uterine polyps. Another excellent way to see and evaluate polyps before surgery is to perform a saline infusion ultrasound. During this procedure, a catheter is placed in the uterine cavity to instill sterile water into the uterus during a transvaginal ultrasound. Filling the cavity with fluid enables a polyp to be seen much more easily.
Getting rid of uterine polyps
Because polyps can cause miscarriage and infertility, polyps found in women who are trying to conceive should be removed. As stated above, there is little risk of the polyp being cancerous, but they should still be evaluated by a pathologist after removal.
Polyp removal is performed during an out-patient surgical procedure called a hysteroscopic polypectomy. An operative telescope with a camera attached to it is placed through the cervix, into the uterus and water is then used to distend the uterine cavity. When the polyp is visualized, a small surgical instrument is inserted through the scope so that the polyp can be removed.
If you have any questions, please contact our San Antonio fertility center.