Uterine polyps are abnormal tissue growths in the lining of the uterus (endometrium). Although generally benign, a small number of uterine polyps can also develop into malignancy.
Uterine polyps are round or oval in size ranging from the size of a sesame seed to the size of a golf ball. This lump can be stalked so that it looks hanging or growing wide on the wall of the uterus.
Uterine polyps can be experienced by every woman. However, this condition is more often experienced by women aged 40-50 years and rarely experienced by women under 20 years old.
Causes of Uterine Polyps
The cause of uterine polyps is not known for sure. However, this condition is closely related to changes in estrogen hormone levels. In addition, there are a number of conditions that are thought to increase the risk of uterine polyps, namely:
- Entering perimenopause and menopause phases
- Suffering from obesity
- Taking certain medications, such as tamoxifen
- Suffer from inherited genetic abnormalities, such as Lynch syndrome or Cowden syndrome
Symptoms of Uterine Polyps
The symptoms of uterine polyps that appear in the sufferer can vary. Patients may not experience any symptoms if the uterine polyps are small or only grow one.
However, there are a number of symptoms that can appear in patients with uterine polyps, namely:
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Long or excessive menstrual volume ( menorrhagia )
- Bleeding from the vagina between two menstrual cycles
- Flecks and bleeding appear after menopause
- Bleeding after intercourse
- Difficulty or inability to conceive ( infertility )
When should you go to the doctor?
Immediately check with a doctor if you experience the symptoms of uterine polyps as mentioned above, especially if you are menopausal. Examination by a doctor is necessary so that this disorder can be overcome immediately. That way, the risk of complications due to uterine polyps can be prevented.
In addition, women who suffer from obesity or are taking medication for breast cancer are more at risk of developing uterine polyps. If you are included in the group, check with your doctor regularly to control your condition.
Diagnosis of Uterine Polyps
The doctor will ask about the symptoms experienced, the history of diseases that the patient and his family members have suffered from, as well as the drugs that are being consumed. The doctor will also ask about menstruation, such as the cycle, length, frequency, and volume. Questions about difficulty getting pregnant may also be asked.
Next, the doctor will perform a complete physical examination. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will perform supporting examinations, such as:
USG Transvaginal USG uses a stick-shaped device ( ultrasound inducer ) that is inserted into the This device emits sound waves that are transformed into a visual display on a computer screen, to see abnormalities in the uterus such as polyps.
Hysteroscopy is performed by inserting a tool called a hysteroscope into the uterus through the vagina. This thin tube-shaped device is equipped with a light and a camera at the end to detect the presence of polyps.
Uterine wall biopsy
In this procedure, the doctor will take tissue samples from the uterine wall. The sample is then tested further in the laboratory to ascertain whether the tissue has the potential to be cancerous or not.
Curettage is performed by inserting a metal stick whose end is hooked into the uterus through the vagina, to take tissue samples. This procedure can also be used to remove polyps.
Sonohysterography is performed with the help of ultrasound and a special liquid that is inserted into the uterus through a catheter. This procedure will make it easier for the doctor to see if there are abnormalities in the uterus, including the growth of polyps.
Before and after undergoing one of the supporting examinations above, the doctor can give antibiotics, pain relievers, and medicine to widen the cervix (neck of the womb).
Treatment of Uterine Polyps
New uterine polyp treatment is performed when the patient experiences very disturbing symptoms, such as excessive menstrual bleeding , or when the polyp has the potential to become cancerous.
In polyps that do not cause symptoms or are small in size, no specific treatment is usually performed. Even so, patients are still recommended to perform routine examinations to monitor the condition and development of polyps.
When a polyp causes a disturbance, there are a number of treatments that a doctor can do to overcome it, namely:
Medicines to balance hormones, such as progestins and gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists , can ease the symptoms of uterine polyps. However, this effect is temporary. Symptoms may reappear after drug consumption is stopped.
Hysteroscopy or curettage
Hysteroscopy and curettage can be performed to remove uterine polyps. Side effects that can occur after both actions are stomach cramps and light bleeding. Patients are advised not to have sex for 1-2 weeks after the procedure.
This procedure is effective for dealing with small polyps and is usually chosen for uterine polyps experienced by pregnant women or women who are planning to become pregnant.
Hysterectomy _ _
If the polyp cannot be removed by other methods or if the polyp is cancerous tissue, the doctor will perform a hysterectomy , which is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus.
Be aware that, although rare, polyps can grow back later in life. Therefore, patients are advised to check their condition regularly.
Complications of Uterine Polyps
In most cases, uterine polyps are benign. However, uterine polyps can also develop into cancer. This condition occurs more often in women who have experienced menopause.
In addition, uterine polyps can also cause complications in the form of sterility or infertility. This condition makes it difficult for sufferers to have offspring. Even so, research mentions that the removal of uterine polyps can increase the possibility of the sufferer getting pregnant again.
Prevention of Uterine Polyps
Because the exact cause is not yet known, uterine polyps cannot be completely prevented. However, you can do several ways to reduce the risk of polyps, such as:
- Apply a healthy and balanced diet with sufficient nutrition
- Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes every day
- Maintain an ideal weight
- Do regular check-ups with the doctor, especially if you suffer from certain genetic abnormalities, such as Lynch syndrome or Cowden syndrome