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What are Endometrial Polyps?

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  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2016
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Endometrial polyps are growths located in the endometrium, or inner wall of the uterus. Endometrial tissues make up the inner lining of the uterus. During menstruation, the tissues go through a process of growing and dying. Sometimes the tissues can grow too much, which can lead to the formation of an endometrial polyp. The polyps can vary in size, as some may be as small as a seed, while others can grow as large as a golf ball or orange.

There is not a singular cause of endometrial polyps. Although there are some factors considered to be contributors to the condition. The polyps appear to grow in response to a naturally produced hormone known as estrogen. They may also form in connection with polyps on other reproductive organs, such as the cervix. Hypertension or high blood pressure and obesity may also play a part in developing these growths.

Spotting between menstrual cycles is a common symptom of this condition. The menstruation periods may also be very heavy and prolonged in duration. A women with endometrial polyps who has already been through menopause may discover unexpected spotting. Pelvic pain in the presence or absence of menstruation may also be experienced. In some incidences, especially large polyps may cause infertility.

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There are some medical procedures which are used to both diagnose and treat endometrial polyps. A hysteroscopy, for instance, can be used to accommodate both measures. This procedure uses a flexible, thin telescope to get a detailed view inside the uterus. From here, a very large polyp can be removed or a smaller one can be sampled to test for malignancies. Another dual functioning procedure is a curettage, which involves scrapping the uterus's wall to obtain a tissue sample or to remove a growth, such as a polyp.

Usually, these types of polyps are benign, or noncancerous. Women rarely develop endometrial polyp cancer, although it is possible. In the event of a malignancy, especially if it has spread, a hysterectomy may be chosen as a treatment. This procedure involves the removal of the uterus.

Women experiencing endometrial polyps symptoms will generally see a gynecologist for further evaluation. Before a hysterscopy or curettage is performed, a less invasive test such as a transvaginal ultrasound may be done for a generalized view of the uterus. This test involves the placement of a probe internally within a woman to gain a view of the reproductive organs. Many women with endometrial polyps will not need any treatment, as the polyps may be very small and not cause any symptoms.

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