CERVICAL POLYPS

What is a cervical or uterine polyp?

Uterine polyps are soft red outgrowths from the lining of the womb (the endometrium), usually less than 1 cm in diameter, which often flatten to fit the cavity of the uterus.

The stalk of the polyp (or pedicle) is usually short, but sometimes it grows long enough for the polyp to project from the cervix (the lower opening of the womb). Polyps are prone to bleeding, and a uterine polyp that develops near the fallopian tubes may obstruct the opening of the tubes, possibly leading to difficulty with becoming pregnant. Uterine polyps can develop in pre- or post-menopausal women. Very rarely, polyps can be cancerous.

Complications of a cervical polyp

Uterine polyps might be associated with infertility. If you have uterine polyps and you’re unable to have children, removal of the polyps might allow you to become pregnant.

Symptoms of uterine polyps

Many women who have uterine polyps show no symptoms at all. In others, one or more of the following symptoms may be present:

Irregular menstrual bleeding, such as bleeding varying amounts at frequent but unpredictable intervals

  • Bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Excessively heavy menstrual periods
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause

Seek medical care if you have:

  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • Bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding

 

Some questions our specialist might ask include:

  • When did your symptoms start?
  • How often do you have these symptoms?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
  • Does anything seem to make your symptoms worse?
  • Have you been treated for uterine polyps or cervical polyps before?
  • Have you had fertility problems? Do you want to become pregnant?
  • Does your family have a history of breast, colon or endometrial cancer?

 

If our specialist suspects you have uterine polyps, he or she might perform one of the following:

  • Transvaginal ultrasound. A slender, wand-like device placed in your vagina emits sound waves and creates an image of your uterus, including its interior. Our specialist may see a polyp that’s clearly present or may identify a uterine polyp as an area of thickened endometrial tissue.
  • A related procedure, known as hysterosonography (his-tur-o-suh-NOG-ruh-fee) — also called sonohysterography (son-oh-his-tur-OG-ruh-fee) — involves having salt water (saline) injected into your uterus through a small tube threaded through your vagina and cervix. The saline expands your uterine cavity, which gives the doctor a clearer view of the inside of your uterus during the ultrasound.
  • Our specialist may insert a thin, flexible, lighted telescope (hysteroscope) through your vagina and cervix into your uterus. Hysteroscopy allows us to examine the inside of your uterus.
  • Endometrial biopsy. We might use a suction catheter inside the uterus to collect a specimen for lab testing. Uterine polyps may be confirmed by an endometrial biopsy, but the biopsy could also miss the polyp.
  • Most uterine polyps are noncancerous (benign). However, some precancerous changes of the uterus (endometrial hyperplasia) or uterine cancers (endometrial carcinomas) appear as uterine polyps. We will likely recommend removal of the polyp and will send a tissue sample for lab analysis to be certain you don’t have uterine cancer.
When to see our specialist
Planning Ahead

You may wish to prepare a list of questions to ask before seeing us so that you will not miss out anything important. Ask for the appointment on a day when you know you will not be having your period. Be sure to bring a list of all medications and supplements that you are taking.

Can I walk in for an appointment or service?

We want to make sure we cater enough time for your visit with our doctor. As such, we strongly advise that you make a prior appointment with our staff. Our specialist will then meet you on the allocated time for a detailed discussion. Please call or email us for an appointment.

Our doctor’s recommendation for uterine polyps

For uterine polyps, our specialist might recommend:

  • Surgical removal. During hysteroscopy, instruments inserted through the hysteroscope — the device our specialist uses to see inside your uterus — make it possible to remove polyps. The removed polyp will likely be sent to a lab for microscopic examination.
  • If a uterine polyp contains cancerous cells, we will share more with you about the next steps in evaluation and treatment.
  • Rarely, uterine polyps can recur. If they do, you might need more treatment.

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