Are Uterine Polyps dangerous?
Uterine polyps are soft red outgrowths from the lining of the womb (the endometrium), usually less than 1 cm in diameter, which often flatten to fit the cavity of the uterus.
The stalk of the polyp (or pedicle) is usually short, but sometimes it grows long enough for the polyp to project from the cervix (the lower opening of the womb). Polyps are prone to bleeding, and a uterine polyp that develops near the fallopian tubes may obstruct the opening of the tubes, possibly leading to difficulty with becoming pregnant. Uterine polyps can develop in pre- or post-menopausal women.
While most polyps are benign, a small proportion of polyps are malignant, or cancerous. Generally, polyps are more likely to be dangerous if they occur in women after menopause, or if they cause symptoms like post-menopausal bleeding or heavy periods.
Many women who have uterine polyps show no symptoms at all. In others, one or more of the following symptoms may be present:
- Irregular menstrual bleeding, such as bleeding varying amounts at frequent but unpredictable intervals
- Bleeding between menstrual periods
- Excessively heavy menstrual periods
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
Should Uterine Polyps be treated?
Once identified, polyps can be removed surgically through a hysteroscopy. A general anesthetic is sometimes required for this procedure. Uterine polyps, once removed, can recur. It’s possible that you might need to undergo treatment more than once if you experience recurring uterine polyps. If the polyps are found to contain cancerous cells, hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) becomes necessary.
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.