An endometrial polyp is a soft, fleshy growth that develops on the inner wall of the uterus. A polyp may have a thick base, or it may be attached to the uterus by a thin stalk. A woman may develop a single polyp or multiple polyps, and they may be large or small.
Polyps develop as a result of the irregular overgrowth of the endometrial lining in the uterus. The exact cause of their development is not known. They are sensitive to estrogen, a naturally-occurring hormone that regulates the growth of the endometrial lining. An increase in estrogen levels will accelerate polyp growth.
Uterine polyps can develop with no signs or symptoms. In many cases, polyps are so small they don't cause any problems. But they can grow large enough to interfere with the normal function of the female reproduction system. In some cases, uterine polyps can grow so large that they push out of the cervix and into the vagina. Symptoms that can be associated with polyps may include heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding, bleeding after intercourse, vaginal bleeding after menopause and infertility.
Treatment options vary depending on the size and number of polyps. Polyps are usually removed or biopsied, especially in postmenopausal women, because they can contain precancerous cells. Hormonal medication may also be used to reduce the size of polyps. In cases in which a polyp is found to contain cancerous or precancerous cells, a hysterectomy is usually recommended.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.