Uterine fibroids are made of muscular tissue found inside the uterus while polyps grow on the wall of the uterus and consist of the uterine lining, the endometrium. The cause of uterine fibroids and polyps is not clear but may be linked to genetics or the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Uterine polyps appear red due to their source of origin-the endometrium- the inner most layer of blood vessels and tissue of the uterus. During a woman’s menstrual cycle, it fills with blood as part of the menstrual cycle process. It is from this process that a polyp can form. If one is begun, it may grow so large that it blocks the fallopian tubes leading to infertility.
According to the U.S. Department of Human Health and Services, researchers speculate there could be several contributing factors such as your genetics or hormonal profile linked to uterine fibroids. Natural hormone production is also shown to promote their growth while anti-hormone drugs are proven to make them shrink. This is why the majority are found in pre-menopausal and not postmenopausal women.
Symptoms of uterine fibroids and polyps can be similar and may both cause abnormal bleeding and pain. However, some of these could also signal a more serious condition such as uterine cancer. These can include:
- Bleeding between periods
- Pelvic pain or pressure
- Bleeding after menopause
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Longer than normal periods
- Difficulty emptying your bladder
- Back ache, lower abdominal pain, leg pains or sometimes pain during intercourse
If you think you may have one or more of these symptoms, Dr. Kristin Schmidt is an experienced OB GYN in the Houston area who specializes in uterine fibroid and polyp diagnosis as well as treatment and removal. While some of these conditions may be treated with medications, others may signal a need for removal of the polyp(s) or fibroid.
With over 15 years of treating women, she welcomes you to contact her office for your comprehensive pelvic exam to determine if you may have these conditions.
Diagnosing and Testing
Once you see Dr. Schmidt and she performs a pelvic exam and discusses your history and symptoms, she may order testing to confirm the presence and type of uterine fibroid or uterine polyp. The following is a list of testing procedures:
- Ultrasound-transvaginal or transabdominal
- Lab tests-CBC to check for anemia
- Hysterosonography-catheter with saline solution and lighted instrument
- Hysterosalpingography-uses dye to visualize the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes
- Endometrial biopsy
Uterine Polyp Removal and Fibroid Treatment
While many women can be treated with medications there are times where surgery is needed to remove the polyps or fibroids. You and Dr. Schmidt will discuss how your age and future family planning affects your treatment choices. In some cases, an endometrial biopsy may be performed prior to surgery.
Uterine Polyp Removal Options
- Endometrial ablation
- Hysterectomy or robotic divinci™ hysterectomy
Uterine Fibroid Treatment and Diet
Often for specific cases of uterine fibroids management of your weight and eating fruits and vegetables can go a long way to minimize your chances of occurrence.
When Uterine Tumors turn into Uterine Cancer or Endometrial Cancer
Uterine cancer is reported by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists to be the most common gynecological cancer in the U.S. This is when normal cells start to grow abnormally and divide rapidly to form clusters of malignant cells or a tumor.
Both uterine fibroids and polyps are common among women during reproductive years and are typically non-cancerous growths. However, at times, polyps can turn into pre-cancerous and cancerous growths. Approximately 70-75% of pre-menopausal women will experience some form with some not even knowing they have them.
In addition to some of the same symptoms of fibroids, uterine cancer or also known as endometrial cancer can show up differently. These include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding not associated with your menstrual period
- Postmenopausal bleeding
- Growth or mass in the vaginal area
If you think you may have symptoms of uterine fibroids or polyps or you suspect uterine cancer, please schedule your appointment to rapidly treat these conditions with the confidence of an experienced OB GYN and staff.
Contact us for a pelvic exam an appointment with Dr. Kristin Schmidt.