Overview of Fibroids and Uterine Polyps Diagnosis and Treatment at PRC in Dubai
Uterine polyps and fibroids can contribute to infertility. Uterine polyps are composed of endometrial tissue, whereas fibroids are composed of muscle tissue. These structures can contribute to infertility and problems with menstruation.
How are uterine fibroids and uterine polyps different?
Uterine fibroids are nonmalignant growths that occur during the childbearing years. Developing from myometrium (smooth muscle tissue), uterine fibroids develop when a single cell divides repeatedly and forms into a rubbery mass. Also called myomas or leiomyomas, uterine fibroids range in size from the size of a small seed to the size of a cantaloupe. A person can have just one fibroid, or she may have multiple growths. Uterine fibroids occur in 75% of women during their lives, but many people have no symptoms. Uterine polyps develop from an overgrowth of endometrial tissue, and they occur in the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium). These can vary in size, occur along, or occur in clusters. Uterine polyps often cause problems with menstruation and fertility, but are rarely cancerous.
How are uterine polyps and fibroids similar?
Both fibroids and polyps affect the reproduction process much like intra-uterine contraceptive devices. These growths are both induced by hormones, and both are nonmalignant growths that are more common during the reproductive years.
What are the symptoms of polyps and fibroids?
Since uterine fibroids often are larger than polyps, symptoms can be more severe. Polyps often cause irregular periods, with varying degrees of heaviness and duration, spotting between menstrual periods, and vaginal bleeding after menopause. Fibroid symptoms cause pelvic pain and pressure, an enlarged abdomen, weight gain, heavy and prolonged menstrual periods, pain during intercourse, and pressure on the bowel (causing bloating and constipation), and bladder (causing urge to urinate or inability to empty bladder).
What causes uterine polyps?
The exact cause of polyp formation is unknown, but experts suspect swings in hormone levels contribute to their development. Estrogen plays a role in causing the endometrium to thicken before menses each month, and this hormone is linked to uterine polyp growth. Your chances of developing polyps increase if you are obese or overweight, if you have high blood pressure, or if you take tamoxifen (breast cancer drug).
What causes uterine fibroids?
As with polyps, the exact cause of uterine fibroids is not clear. However, research studies show that certain factors contribute to fibroid development. These factors are:
- Genetic changes – Fibroids often contain genes that vary from those of normal muscle cells. These growths run in families and appear to have a hereditary link.
- Hormones – The two hormones that stimulate development of the uterine lining before the menstrual cycle are estrogen and progesterone. These hormones appear to promote the growth of fibroid tumors, with these growths shrinking after menopause when hormone production decreases.
- Growth factors – These substances may affect fibroid development.
How are uterine polyps or fibroids diagnosed?
The diagnosis of uterine polyps or fibroids requires a detailed medical history, a comprehensive chief complaint assessment, and a thorough physical examination. Be sure to discuss any menstruation problems you experience, as well as other reproductive symptoms. The doctor will also conduct some tests, which include:
- Transvaginal ultrasound – This procedure involves use of a small, handheld device (ultrasound transducer), which is inserted into the vagina. The device produces sound waves that provide an image of the uterus interior.
- Sonohysterography – Using similar technology to transvaginal ultrasound, this procedure involves introduction of a sterile fluid into the uterus using a thin catheter. When the uterus expands, the device takes clear ultrasound images of the growths.
- Hysteroscopy – To diagnose and treat growths, the doctor inserts a lighted tube (hysteroscope) into the uterus via the vagina and cervical opening. This allows the doctor to visualize and remove polyps and fibroids.
- Endometrial biopsy – With this procedure, the doctor uses a soft, plastic instrument to collect a small piece of tissue from the wall inside the uterus. The pathologist then examines the tissue for abnormalities.