The meaning of the word POLYP is an abnormal mass of tissue that may look like a small, flat bump or mushroom-like growth. Most polyps are small and less than half an inch wide.
What prompts you to get yourself examined for polyps? And what are the symptoms which may be suggestive of uterine polyps?
If you are suffering from:
1. Heavy bleeding
2. Intermenstrual bleeding
3. Recurrent vaginal discharge
4. Prolonged spotting
5. Spotting or bleeding after sexual intercourse
6. Spotting after menopause
Incidence of uterine polyp
Uterine polyps may be present in 24% women, but its incidence is much higher in postmenopausal women as compared to premenopausal women. The chance of these uterine polyps turning cancerous ranges from 0.5 to 4.8% in young and menstruating women and from 2 to 10% in menopausal women
Who is affected by uterine polyps?
Uterine polyps are more likely to develop in older women than in younger women. Uterine polyps can occur mostly when a woman s age is between 40 to 50 and they can develop even after menopause but rarely occur in women under 20 years old.
Your chances of developing uterine polyps increase if you have hypertension or high blood pressure; are overweight or obese, or are taking tablets like tamoxifen, a drug that is used to treat breast cancer
What causes uterine polyps?
The exact reason why polyps form is unknown, but changes in hormone levels may be a factor. Female hormone estrogen appears to be related to the growth of uterine polyps. In any condition; whenever there is estrogen predominance; there are chances of thickening of the uterine lining and also polyp formation.
TYPES OF UTERINE POLYPS:
Uterine polyps are of two types:
Endometrial polyp: This type of polyps is present inside your womb. They may not be visible but can be picked up by sonography.
Cervical polyp: These types of polyps are present on your cervix and are visible to your gynecologist during your routine gynecological examination.
SYMPTOMS OF UTERINE POLYPS
Some of the cervical polyps show no symptoms; and the symptoms if present; may be as follows:
1. Heavy menstrual bleeding
2. Prolonged spotting
3. Spotting after sexual intercourse
4. Recurrent vaginal infections or thick white discharge which may be recurrent.
5. Spotting after menopause
6. Intermenstrual bleeding or bleeding between 2 menstrual cycles.
UTERINE POLYP TREATMENT
Watchful waiting. Small polyps without symptoms might resolve on their own. Treatment of small polyps is unnecessary unless you’re at risk of uterine cancer.
2. Medication. Certain hormonal medications, including progestins and gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, may lessen symptoms of the polyp. But taking such medications is usually a short-term solution at best — symptoms typically recur once you stop taking the medicine.
3. Surgical removal.
Polypectomy is the word which is used to describe surgical removal of uterine polyp.
Inner uterine polyps can be surgically removed using curettage and preferably with hysteroscopy. The ideal way to remove a uterine polyp is through hysteroscopy. Hysteroscopy involves directly visualizing the inner uterine cavity and polyp with a camera attached to the hysteroscopy. Uterine polyp removal under hysteroscopic guidance ensures complete removal and reduces chances of recurrence.
The removed polyp sent to a lab for microscopic examination.
If a uterine polyp contains cancerous cells, your doctor will talk with you about the next steps in evaluation and treatment.
Rarely, uterine polyps can recur. If they do, you might need more treatment.
Obvious outside cervical polyp can be directly removed by using a special forceps and then tying a string qround the polyp .The base of the cervical polyp may be treated using laser or electrocautery. It is an OPD procedure and you can be discharged on the same day.