What are Uterine (Endometrial) Polyps?

endometrial polypsUterine –or endometrial polyps (EPs)—are a common cause of abnormal bleeding as women age.

Endometrial polyps are a localized overgrowth of uterine lining (endometrial) tissue. They can look like small finger-like projections and vary from millimeters to centimeters in size.  Some are covered with a delicate latticework of blood vessels, while others are not.  

While they’re almost unheard of in women under 30 they can become a real nuisance as women get into their 30s, 40s and beyond. In some studies polyps are found in 40% of premenopausal women with menstrual disorders.

untrasound imageAmong women who experience postmenopausal bleeding a quarter of them are found to have polyps. The initial test to determine whether or not you might have an endometrial polyp is an ultrasound exam.

A polyp generally will show up as a light grey structure within the uterine cavity. However, an ultrasound is not specific for the diagnosis of a polyp.

In order to determine whether or not the structure on ultrasound is a polyp a test known as a diagnostic hysteroscopy must be performed. Through the lens of a hysteroscope polyps are clearly seen as fingerlike projections.

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During the hysteroscopy there’s also an opportunity to remove the polyp.