Polyps in the uterus, what should you know?

Polyps in the uterus are bumps that grow on the inner wall of that organ. They have varied sizes, ranging from a few millimeters to several centimeters. Some reach the volume of a golf ball, or even more.

The actual incidence of polyps in the uterus is unknown. This is because in many cases they do not generate any symptoms and, therefore, there is no consultation. But nevertheless, its prevalence is estimated to be between 10 and 24% of total women around the world.

The most common is that they appear in women between the ages of 40 and 65. Despite this, Polyps have also been found in the womb of 12-year-old girls and 81-year-old women. Therefore, they can appear at any age.

What are polyps in the uterus?

Polyps in the uterus are common in women who are reaching menopause. Its formation is one of the causes of postmenopausal bleeding.

Polyps in the uterus are small finger-shaped lumps that grow on the inner wall of the uterus. This wall is called the endometrium, so it is also called "endometrial polyps." They take place by the proliferation of cells and the consequent growth of the endometrium.

A woman can have one or several polyps in the uterus. They usually remain within this organ, although Sometimes it slides down the cervix to the vagina. They are more frequent in women who are reaching menopause or who have already passed through that stage.

The vast majority of polyps in the uterus are benign. Only a percentage of 0.5 to 1% have malignancy. Generally, malignant polyps are those that occur after menopause, have a size of more than 2 cm and generate postmenopausal bleeding.

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Symptoms and diagnosis

Most uterine polyps have no symptoms. They are usually detected during a routine exam. In cases where there are symptoms, these usually include the following manifestations:

  • Abnormal bleeding. You can understand very heavy bleeding during the menstrual period (menorrhagia); bleeding not related to menstruation, that is, the one that occurs after menopause (metrorrhagia); or, a bleeding after having sex.
  • Infertility. The difficulty or inability to conceive may be related to uterine polyps.
  • Abortions
  • Pain. It occurs when polyps move to the vagina.

The diagnosis of uterine polyps is carried out through different tests such as:

  • Transvaginal ultrasound. It is carried out by introducing a rod-shaped device, inside the vagina. This creates an image through sound waves.
  • Hysteroscopy. A flexible, thin and bright telescope is inserted into the vagina and cervix. This allows observing the inside of the organ.
  • Endometrial biopsy. It is carried out by a suction catheter. A sample is taken and then examined in the laboratory. It has no one hundred percent reliability.

Read also: What is diagnostic hysteroscopy?

Causes of polyps in the uterus

To date there is no definite cause to explain the appearance of polyps in the uterus. However, there are several risk factors identified.

Science does not know the reason why polyps are generated in the uterus. Hypotheses about their possible genetic, hormonal and other origins have been proposed. However, there is no conclusive result so far.

What has been detected is that there are some risk factors. They are the following:

  • High levels of estrogens.
  • Tamoxifen use. It is a drug that is used for the treatment of breast cancer. Increases the risk of uterine polyps formation.
  • Hormonal treatments in postmenopause.
  • Obesity.
  • Hypertension.
  • Other diseases. Syndrome Lynch, the syndrome of Cowden and other rare diseases are associated with the development of uterine polyps.

Other data of interest

The treatment that is usually given to polyps in the uterus is surgical removal or polypectomy. This procedure is performed by curettage or uterine scraping, or by hysteroscopy resection. This last procedure is the safest and most effective.

Surgery is especially indicated in the following cases:

  • Symptomatic premenopausal women.
  • Asymptomatic premenopausal women, with polyps larger than 1.5 cm in diameter.
  • Symptomatic and asymptomatic postmenopausal women.

In cases where polyps arise as a result of tamoxifen ingestion, a careful study of each particular situation should be made. It is recommended that all women have regular checkups with the gynecologist To detect any problem in time.

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