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Endometrial Polyps

Endometrial or uterine polyps are protrusions of the interior lining of the uterus. These polyps within the womb may be flat and knubby or stalklike. In rare cases, they may be large enough to actually protrude into the vagina, and be visible during a speculum exam – for example, during a pap smear. They are more common in middle-aged women.

Polyps of endometrial tissue can invade the uterine cavity, an overgrowth that disrupts menstruation but that the gynecolgists can readily treat.

Though endometr`ial polyps may swell and recede with the menstrual cycle, they often cause no symptoms. In some patients, however, they can bring on abnormal bleeding and pain from cramping, as well as compromised fertility. The gynecologist can confirm the presence of these masses by visually inspecting the uterus with an hysteroscope, or by using transvaginal ultrasound with the uterus expanded with sterile water or by x-ray with the uterus expanded with dye-containing liquid.

ultrasound image of uterine endometrium
courtesy Siemens Healthcare

Small polyps may regress on their own, and those not producing symptoms usually do not need treatment. So, patient and Virtua gynecologist must decide on intervention based on severity and symptoms.

Fortunately, treatment is also straightforward and does not require incisions but instead takes advantage of the hysteroscope to access these abnomalities through the vagina, and to resect and remove them. In some cases, simple dilation and curettage may be adequate for reaching and removing these growths.

Temporary cramping and pain will follow this procedure. Recurrence of uterine polyps after treatment is not unusual.

In the uncommon case where the lab evaluation of the removed polyp reveals cancer, the gynecologist will confer and consult closely with the Virtua cancer specialists. The team will usually recommend hysterectomy.

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