Uterine polyps, also called endometrial polyps, are abnormal growths on the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) that extend into the uterine cavity. Most uterine polyps are noncancerous (benign). However, they can sometimes become cancerous (precancerous polyp). Uterine polyps can be found on the uterine walls, connected by a small stalk or a huge base. They vary in size from a few millimeters to a few centimeters.
Uterine polyps can be found as a single or multiple masses and they can be local in the uterus or go down to the cervix, and to the vagina. They are usually found in women in their menopausal stage, but even younger women can have them as well.
Treatment options for uterine polyps could include observation, medication, and surgical removal.
Uterine polyps have the following signs and symptoms:
- Irregular menstruation
- Postmenopausal vaginal bleeding
- Bleeding between menstruations
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately. In some women, these symptoms can be mild or non-existent with occasional light spotting or bleeding.
What Causes Vaginal Polyps?
The cause of uterine polyps is unknown. However, hormonal factors are found to play an important role in developing the polyps. Uterine polyps most likely develop from an imbalance of the hormone estrogen.
The risk factors for uterine polyp formation include:
- During menopausal or after menopausal period
- Tamoxifen medication intake (used for breast cancer treatment)