Uterine polyps are protrusions of tissue that grow on the uterine lining (endometrium). Polyps form when the same kind of cells as the lining itself start growing abnormally. They can range in size from a few centimeters (the size of a small seed) up to the size of a golf ball. Over time, they can become fragile and bleed.
If your doctor determines that you have polyps located inside your uterus (endometrial polyps), you may be a good candidate for the MyoSure procedure. Your doctor will evaluate your specific requirements based on the size and location of your polyp(s).
Hysteroscopy: Your doctor may perform a procedure called a hysteroscopy to diagnose and treat your uterine polyps. In a hysteroscopy, he or she inserts a thin, flexible, lighted telescope (hysteroscope) through your vagina and cervix into your uterus. Hysteroscopy allows your doctor to examine the inside of your uterus and remove any polyps that are found. This eliminates the need for a follow-up procedure.
Transvaginal ultrasound: Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to generate images. To perform the test, your doctor or a technician will place an ultrasound probe—a slender, wand-like device—into your vagina. It sends out sound waves to create an image of your uterus, including its interior.
Hysterosonography: Your doctor injects salt water (saline) into your uterus through a small tube (catheter) threaded through your vagina and cervix. The saline expands your uterine cavity, giving your doctor a clearer view of the inside of your uterus.
There is no definitive cause of uterine polyps, but like fibroids, hormonal factors appear to play a role. Specifically, it is believed that uterine polyps are estrogen-sensitive. That simply means that they react to hormones just the same way the lining of your uterus (endometrium) does, growing in response to circulating estrogen.
Unfortunately, there's no specific way to prevent uterine polyps, although keeping yourself at a healthy weight, with normal blood pressure readings, can help lessen your risk. There are certain factors that may contribute to an increased risk for developing polyps. These include:1
• Are between the ages of 40 and 50.
• Are overweight or obese.
• Take tamoxifen, a drug therapy for breast cancer.
• Have high blood pressure (hypertension).
The more you know about polyps, the better your chances are of ridding yourself of these troublesome little growths. Here are just a few facts about uterine polyps to keep in mind:
- Uterine polyps are most common in women in menopause: If you are going through menopause, your chance of getting polyps is higher than your younger counterparts.2
- You can have more than one polyp: You can have just one polyp—or many at the same time. And while they typically stay within your uterus, they can slip down through your cervix into your vagina.3
- Uterine polyps, once removed, can recur: A small percentage of polyps seem to come back—sometimes months or even years after treatment. If you have recurring uterine polyps, you may need to undergo treatment a second time.4
- Some suggest that uterine polyps can lead to infertility: While this issue still needs some further testing, if you have uterine polyps and you're having trouble getting pregnant, your polyps may be the culprit. You may find that once they're removed, your fertility improves.5
- The presence of uterine polyps also increases the risk of miscarriage: Women who enter into in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment are generally advised to have uterine polyps removed before conducting any embryo transfer procedure.6