If you’ve been diagnosed with uterine polyps, or suspect you’re suffering from these growths, you likely have questions regarding your condition. The number one question patients ask is, Can uterine polyps be cancerous? We’ll answer this along with other commonly asked questions including, What are the symptoms of uterine polyps? What causes them? How are polyps treated?

If you have additional questions about uterine polyps, or if you suffer from uterine polyps and would like to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified surgeons, please feel free to contact the Gynecologic Surgery Center of Excellence in Los Angeles. A member of our team can help determine the best course of treatment for you.

What Are Uterine Polyps?

Uterine polyps, also known as endometrial polyps, are soft growths (similar to skin tags) that attach to the inner wall of the uterus. Uterine polyps are formed when there’s an overgrowth of tissue in the lining of the uterus (the endometrium). Polyps are round or oval in shape and usually vary in size from a few millimeters (the size of a grain of rice) to a few centimeters (the size of a ping pong ball). While polyps are usually contained within the uterus, some may slip through the opening of the uterus into the vagina.

Are Uterine Polyps a Sign of Cancer?

According to Columbia University Medical Center’s Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, approximately 95 percent of uterine polyps are benign (noncancerous). When you visit the Gynecologic Surgery Center, your doctor will evaluate and monitor your polyps to rule out cancerous or precancerous polyps. Removing precancerous polyps can help prevent uterine cancer from developing in the future.

Even though most polyps are not cancerous, benign uterine polyps can still cause a great deal of pain and other unpleasant symptoms.

Symptoms of Uterine Polyps

The symptoms commonly associated with uterine polyps include irregular menstrual periods, unusually heavy flow during menstruation, bleeding between periods and spotting or bleeding after menopause and infertility.  However, many women with polyps have no signs or symptoms of the condition. It’s not uncommon for polyps to be discovered during incidental testing for other issues.

What Causes Uterine Polyps?

While the exact cause of uterine polyps is unknown, hormones may be a factor. Researchers believe that polyps are estrogen-sensitive and may be an abnormal growth response to estrogen circulating in the blood. Uterine polyps are more likely to appear in women between the ages of 40 and 50 and in women who are obese or have high blood pressure.

Treatment

You’ve been diagnosed with uterine polyps. What’s the next step? Depending on the size of your polyps and symptoms your doctor may recommend:

Monitoring and waiting. Small polyps or asymptomatic polyps (without symptoms) are left alone and monitored to see if they disappear on their own or if they grow.

Medication. Certain hormonal medications may shrink a uterine polyp and lessen symptoms. This is usually a short-term solution, since polyps will begin to grow once the medication is stopped.

When larger polyps are present and are problematic, uterine polyp removal is necessary. Your doctor may perform a hysteroscopy to remove the polyps. During this outpatient procedure, your doctor will insert a thin and flexible, lighted scope (hysteroscope) into your uterus. This allows your doctor to see into your uterus and locate the polyps. The polyps are then removed using surgical instruments inserted through the hysteroscope. The removed polyps are usually sent to a lab for examination to rule out cancerous cells.

Contact a Los Angeles Gynecologist Today

If you believe you may have uterine polyps and are interested in learning more about treatment options, please don’t hesitate to contact the Surgical Gynecology Center of Excellence. You can contact our outpatient surgery center by calling (888) 374-0367 or by filling out our online contact form, and a member of our team will schedule a consultation.

Next, read What is the Difference Between Obstetrics and Gynecology?