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Endometrial Polyps
Fertility General Gynaecology 

Endometrial polyps (or uterine polyps) are small growths in the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium). They are attached to the inner lining of the uterus by a thin stalk or a broad base and extend inward in your uterus. They are rare in younger women and more commonly seen in older women. However, the incidence decreases after menopause.

Polyps can be round or oval and vary in size and be as small as a sesame seed or as large as a golf ball. A woman can have one or more polyps present in her uterus. Polyps are benign (noncancerous) but can cause worrisome symptoms and fertility problems if left untreated. Also, studies suggest that around 2–3% of endometrial polyps can become malignant and progress into cancer, particularly if the polyps occur in menopausal women and if the polyp is causing bleeding. 

Symptoms of Endometrial polyps

The main symptom of endometrial polyps is abnormal bleeding. This manifests as:

  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) 
  • Spotting or bleeding between periods
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding after menopause
  • Bleeding after sex

There could also be infertility, where the woman has issues getting or staying pregnant.

Causes of Endometrial polyps

While the exact cause of endometrial polyps is unknown, hormone levels are thought to play a significant role in their development. Higher levels of the female hormone, oestrogen, are said to overstimulate endometrial glands and contribute to endometrial polyp growth.

Risk factors for developing endometrial polyps include:

  • Increased age (in your 40s or 50s)
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Being on hormone replacement therapy
  • Taking tamoxifen, a medication used to treat breast cancer
  • Having Lynch syndrome or Cowden syndrome

 

Treatment of Endometrial polyps

 

Treatment of polyps depends on your symptoms and the risk of progression to cancer. Polyps may be monitored if they are asymptomatic. Also, they can go on their own.

However, if you are post-menopausal or have symptoms, your healthcare provider may suggest one or more of these treatment options: 

  •  Medications such as progestins or gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists
  • Surgery, such as uterine polypectomy (to remove the polyps) or hysterectomy (to remove part or all of the uterus).

 

You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 07 3188 5000.

This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.

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