Many women have uterine polyps and never know it. These growths in your uterus are usually very small, less than 1 centimeter, and are very rarely cancerous.
Dr. Parisa Pourzand and her staff, serving patients in Glendale, Burbank, and Los Angeles, California, have the training and experience necessary to diagnose uterine polyps, as well as to recommend the best course of treatment if polyps are detected. In some cases, that may mean watchful waiting, and in others surgery is the best option.
Generally uterine polyps are cause for concern, but they can become large or cause symptoms. In this post we offer general information, but Dr. Pourzand is always happy to answer your specific questions.
Uterine polyps described
Your uterus is a cavity, lined with a tissue called endometrium. Through the course of your menstrual cycle, your endometrium becomes thicker, then during your period, sheds away.
A uterine polyp is a small growth that can develop in your endometrial lining. Polyps may have a short stalk, called a pedicle, but sometimes that stalk can be long and the polyp sticks out of your uterus into your vagina. Most of the time the pedicle is short and the polyp is flattened into the endometrium.
Symptoms of uterine polyps
Some women don’t have symptoms of uterine polyps at all, but other times, they can cause irregular, heavy bleeding. Your period may be unpredictable, frequent, vary in length, or be very heavy. Another potential symptom is bleeding between menstrual periods, or bleeding after menopause.
All of these symptoms are a good reason to book an appointment with Dr. Pourzand. They are all also possible signs of a different issue, such as endometriosis.
Why do some people develop polyps?
Experts think that hormone fluctuations could be part of the reason uterine polyps form. Women who are perimenopause or past menopause have a higher risk of developing them.
Other risk factors include having high blood pressure and obesity. Tamoxifen, which is a drug sometimes used to treat breast cancer, is also associated with a higher risk of uterine polyps.
Diagnosing uterine polyps
Sometimes, diagnosing uterine polyps can be difficult because if you still have a period, your endometrium varies in thickness at different times and because uterine polyps may be quite small. Ultrasound is not entirely dependable.
Dr. Pourzand may perform a diagnosis using a hysteroscopy, which involves inserting a very thin telescope into your uterus to examine it closely. Hysteroscopy is one of the most dependable ways to diagnose uterine polyps.
Treating uterine polyps
If you’re not having symptoms, Dr. Pourzand may suggest a watchful waiting approach to treatment. That means being aware you have polyps, and checking to make sure they’re not getting any bigger over time.
If you have symptoms at all, though, treatment is usually suggested. Uterine polyps can be removed through laparoscopic surgery, which involves very small incisions.
If you’re having any of the symptoms of uterine polyps, we recommend making an appointment with Dr. Pourzand so she can investigate the cause of your symptoms. Uterine polyps aren’t generally a cause for concern, but you don’t have to live with uncomfortable symptoms.