Uterine polyps are growths attached to the inner wall of the uterus that extend into the uterine cavity. Overgrowth of cells in the lining of the uterus (endometrium) leads to the formation of uterine polyps, also known as endometrial polyps. These polyps are usually noncancerous (benign), although some can be cancerous or can eventually turn into cancer (precancerous polyps).
Uterine polyps range in size from a few millimeters — no larger than a sesame seed — to several centimeters — golf-ball-size or larger. They attach to the uterine wall by a large base or a thin stalk.
You can have one or many uterine polyps. They usually stay contained within your uterus, but occasionally, they slip down through the opening of the uterus (cervix) into your vagina. Uterine polyps most commonly occur in women who are going through or have completed menopause, although younger women can get them, too.
Some women have only light bleeding or spotting; others are symptom free.
Seek medical care if you have:
Hormonal factors appear to play a role. Uterine polyps are estrogen-sensitive, meaning they grow in response to circulating estrogen.
Risk factors for developing uterine polyps include:
Uterine polyps might be associated with infertility. If you have uterine polyps and you’re unable to have children, removal of the polyps might allow you to become pregnant, but the data are inconclusive.
Hysteroscopy is a form of minimally invasive surgery. The surgeon inserts a tiny telescope (hysteroscope) through the cervix into the uterus. The hysteroscope allows the surgeon to visualize the inside of the uterine cavity on a video monitor. The uterine cavity is then inspected for any abnormality. The surgeon examines the shape of the uterus, the lining of the uterus and looks for any evidence of intrauterine pathology (fibroids or polyps). The surgeon also attempts to visualize the openings to the fallopian tubes (tubal ostia).
Hysteroscopic removal of polyps in women with unexplained infertility may increase their chances of becoming pregnant, concludes an intervention review conducted by the Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group.
Abnormalities in the uterine cavity, such as endometrial polyps, and intrauterine adhesions may disrupt the process of implantation of a fertilized egg into the inner layer of the cavity of the uterus. In subfertile women with a uterine cavity abnormality, removal of these abnormalities using hysteroscopy may be recommended to help increase the odds of pregnancy.
Some of evidence shows that hysteroscopy may improve the odds of a clinical pregnancy.
Removing polyps and other uterine cavity abnormalities via hysteroscopy in women with unexplained infertility may increase their chances of becoming pregnant.
Bosteels J, Kasius J, Weyers S, et al. Hysteroscopy for treating subfertility associated with suspected major uterine cavity abnormalities. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2013;1: CD009461.doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009461.pub2.