An endometrial polyp is a growth or protrusion of tissue from the inner lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium. These polyps are usually noncancerous (benign) but can sometimes be associated with abnormal cells or, rarely, develop into cancer. Here are some key points about endometrial polyps:
- The exact cause of endometrial polyps is not fully understood. However, they are thought to develop due to an overgrowth of endometrial tissue. Hormonal imbalances, such as estrogen dominance, may contribute to their formation.
- Many women with endometrial polyps do not experience any symptoms. However, when symptoms are present, they may include:
- Abnormal uterine bleeding: This can include irregular or heavy menstrual bleeding, bleeding between periods (intermenstrual bleeding), or postmenopausal bleeding.
- Pelvic pain or discomfort: Some women may experience pelvic pain or cramping.
- Infertility or recurrent miscarriages: In some cases, endometrial polyps can interfere with implantation or contribute to miscarriages.
- Endometrial polyps are typically diagnosed through imaging tests, such as transvaginal ultrasound or hysterosonography (HSG), which can visualize the polyps within the uterus. The gold standard for diagnosis is hysteroscopy, a procedure in which a thin, lighted instrument is inserted through the cervix into the uterus to directly visualize and potentially remove the polyps.
- Treatment options for endometrial polyps include:
- Observation: If the polyps are small, asymptomatic, and not causing any concerns, a healthcare provider may choose to monitor them without immediate intervention.
- Medications: Hormonal medications, such as progestins or gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, may be prescribed to help shrink the polyps or manage associated symptoms.
- Hysteroscopic polypectomy: This is the most common treatment for symptomatic or larger polyps. During a hysteroscopy, the polyps are visualized and removed using specialized instruments inserted through the cervix.
- The removal of endometrial polyps is generally effective in resolving associated symptoms and improving fertility outcomes. However, there is a small chance of polyp recurrence after treatment.