Uterine Polyps and Cysts
When you visit with your reproductive endocrinologist for fertility treatments, you will probably have to go through a full physical exam. Though this can be uncomfortable, it is necessary in order to help find out the source of your fertility issues.
During these exams, health care providers sometimes discover cysts and polyps on the reproductive organs. Though generally harmless, occasionally these cysts and polyps can interfere with fertility.
Polyps are relatively common amongst women between the ages of 20 and 50. Typically they cause no symptoms, although they can occasionally bleed, triggering pain and cramping. Uterine polyps can sometimes also interfere with infertility.
What are Uterine Polyps?Uterine Polyps, also known as endometrial polyps, are soft, fleshy growths that form on the inside of your uterus. Uterine polyps grow slowly and tend to be small, ranging from one centimeter to five centimeters in length. Uterine polyps can grow flat on the inside lining of your uterus, called the endometrium, or they can grow on long stalks. Sometimes, uterine polyps can project far inside your uterus. Though typically benign, in rare cases polyps can become cancerous.
Causes of Uterine PolypsUterine polyps develop from cells which make up your endometrium, the inside lining of your uterus. During your monthly cycle, your endometrial lining begins to build up, in preparation for implantation of an embryo. If no embryo is implanted, this lining sheds in the form of your period. Sometimes however, due to hormone imbalance, this endometrial lining grows too much, causing tiny clumps to form. These clumps are uterine polyps.
Who Gets Uterine Polyps?Between 10% and 25% of females will develop polyps at some point in their lives. Your risk for developing polyps increases as your grow older, with most women developing them in their 40s. Polyps, however, are rare in women under the age of 20 and above the age of 50.
Symptoms of Uterine PolypsUterine polyps rarely cause symptoms, usually because they are so small. However, some symptoms can occur if you have polyps. Uterine polyps symptoms include:
- irregular menstrual bleeding
- spotting between periods
- stomach cramping