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Doctors and scientists are not sure what causes uterine polyps to develop. Some research shows, however, that they may be related to hormones. For example, they might grow in response to the circulation of estrogen in the body. There also are factors that can increase a woman’s risk of developing polyps. For example, a woman may be more likely to develop them if she is between the ages of 40 and 50, obese, or has high blood pressure. A woman may also face an increased risk if she has taken a drug called tamoxifen for the treatment of breast cancer.
Uterine polyps are growths of tissue that develop inside a woman’s uterus. They occur when cells of the lining of the uterus grow too much and form polyps, which can range in size and usually stay in the uterus. It is possible, however, for a uterine polyp to grow enough that it extends into the affected woman’s vagina. A woman could have a single uterus polyp or several at one time.
Any female can develop a uterus polyp. The cause of the condition is largely unknown, but research indicates that polyp growth is sensitive to estrogen. Interestingly, the lining of a woman’s uterus is sensitive to estrogen and thickens in response to the hormone. Uterus polyps seem to react the same way, growing in response to circulating estrogen.
Though the causes are not known, there are some women who seem to be more at risk for polyps than others. For example, women who are between the ages of 40 and 50 years old seem to be more likely to develop the condition. Likewise, a woman who is pre-menopausal might be more likely to develop a uterus polyp. Obesity can also play a role, and a woman with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above is more at risk. Additionally, women who have taken tamoxifen, which is an anti-estrogen medication used for treating breast cancer, may have an increased risk of developing uterine polyps.
Scientists have also linked the development of uterus polyps with other conditions. For example, some studies suggest that a woman with high blood pressure could be more likely to develop a uterus polyp. Likewise, some studies have revealed a possible link between cervical polyps and uterus polyps. Other studies, however, have failed to find links between such conditions.