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Cervical & Uterine Polyps

What are cervical polyps? Cervical polyps are smooth, red, finger-shaped growths in the cervix, the passage between the uterus and the vagina.

What causes cervical polyps?
The cause of cervical polyps is not entirely understood. They may result from infection. They can also result from long-term (chronic) inflammation, an abnormal response to an increase in estrogen levels, or congestion of blood vessels in the cervical canal.

What are the symptoms?
The most common symptom a woman will notice is abnormal vaginal bleeding that occurs: between menstrual periods; after menopause or after sex. Cervical polyps may be inflamed and rarely can become infected, causing vaginal discharge of yellow or white mucus. Polyps often occur without symptoms.

How are they treated?
The most common treatment is removal of the polyp during a pelvic exam. This can be done simply by gently twisting the polyp, tying it tightly at the base, or removing it with special forceps. A solution is applied to the base of the polyp to stop any bleeding.

Uterine polyps
Uterine polyps are growths attached to inner wall of the uterus and protruding into the uterine cavity. Overgrowth of cells in the lining of the uterus (endometrium) leads to the formation of uterine polyps. The sizes of uterine polyps range from a few millimeters — no larger than a sesame seed — to several centimeters — golf ball sized or larger. They are attached to the uterine wall by a large base or a thin stalk.

You can have one or many uterine polyps. They usually stay contained within your uterus, but occasionally, they may slip down through the opening of the uterus into your vagina. Although they can happen in younger women, uterine polyps most commonly occur in women in their 40s and 50s.

Symptoms: It's possible to have uterine polyps without signs or symptoms.
 Signs of uterine polyps include: Irregular menstrual bleeding — for example, having frequent, unpredictable periods of variable length and heaviness; intermenstrual bleeding; postmenopausal bleeding; infertility.

Causes: By Mayo Clinic staff .. The exact cause of uterine polyps is unknown, hormonal factors appear to play a role. Uterine polyps are estrogen-sensitive, meaning that they respond to estrogen in the same way that the lining of your uterus does — growing in response to circulating estrogen.

Risk factors By Mayo Clinic staff
. You're at greater risk of developing uterine polyps if: You're obese You take tamoxifen, a drug therapy for breast cancer You have high blood pressure (hypertension)Whether uterine polyps lead to infertility remains controversial. However, if you have uterine polyps and you've been experiencing infertility, removal of the polyps might boost your fertility. In one study, infertile women who underwent surgical polyp removal (hysteroscopic polypectomy) had much higher pregnancy rates — 63 percent versus 28 percent — after intrauterine insemination (IUI) than did women with uterine polyps who underwent IUI alone.

As described in WebMD and MayoClinic Proceeding and the TruclearHysteroscopy Website and on the abnormal bleeding tab on this website—we will investigate uterine polyps with transvaginal ultrasound and often proceed, after a discussion with you, on to a hysteroscopic removal of the polyp or polyps. This is a thorough, safe and accurate way of removal and pathologic evaluation.
 

© Copyright 2012, Mary J. Kotob, MD, FACOG. All rights reserved.
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