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Uterine fibroids and polyps are both abnormal growths of uterine tissue and can cause similar symptoms 2. Polyps grow from endometrial tissue, the tissue that lines the uterus, and fibroids are growths of uterine muscle, according to the Advanced Center for Fertility of Chicago 12. Both are usually noncancerous, or benign, according to Dr. Paul Indman. Polyps can grow and then disappear, while fibroids, once they develop, are permanent.
Both polyps and fibroids can cause vaginal bleeding. Submucosal fibroids, which grow into the uterine cavity, can cause very heavy periods in addition to bleeding between periods. Polyps can cause vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods, or they can be associated with heavy or prolonged periods, according to the Mayo Clinic 2. Both fibroids and polyps can cause vaginal bleeding after menopause.
- Both polyps and fibroids can cause vaginal bleeding.
- Both fibroids and polyps can cause vaginal bleeding after menopause.
What Are Uterine Fibroid Cysts?
Numerous fibroids or fibroids that have grown very large can result in a uterus that’s larger than normal. This can be often be palpated by a medical practitioner. Polyps are generally too small to be palpated, although they may be palpated if they protrude through the cervix.
Fibroids can cause uterine cramping and discomfort. They can also press on nearby organs and tissue and cause abdominal or bladder pain. Pedunculated fibroids, which are located on the outside of the uterus and attached to the uterus by a stalk, can cause severe pain if the stalk twists. Polyps don’t usually cause pain.
- Fibroids can cause uterine cramping and discomfort.
Infertility or Miscarriage
Signs of Fibroid Shrinkage
Certain types of fibroids and polyps may cause infertility by interfering with implantation of an embryo 1. Submucosal fibroids, which impinge on the uterine cavity, can also cause miscarriage, according to the Advanced Fertility Center 1. Large polyps or multiple polyps may also cause miscarriage, although the connection between polyps and infertility is controversial, according to the Mayo Clinic 2. Mayo Clinic does state that the removal of polyps has resulted in a higher pregnancy rate in patients undergoing intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization in some studies 2.
What Are Uterine Fibroid Cysts?
Signs of Fibroid Shrinkage
Side Effects of Fibroids
Signs of Fibroid Degeneration
Normal Endometrial Stripe Thickness
Bloating & Fibroids
Signs & Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids Vs. Ovarian Cancer
What Are the Dangers of Uterine Fibroids?
Can Green Tea Shrink Fibroids?
Abnormal Bleeding in Between Periods
- Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago; Uterine Fibroids; Uterine Polyps
- Mayo Clinic; Uterine polyps
- Nijkang NP, Anderson L, Markham R, Manconi F. Endometrial polyps: Pathogenesis, sequelae and treatment. SAGE Open Med. 2019;7:2050312119848247. doi:10.1177/2050312119848247
- Grahn SW, Varma MG. Factors that increase risk of colon polyps. Clin Colon Rectal Surg. 2008;21(4):247-55. doi:10.1055/s-0028-1089939
- Al Chami A, Saridogan E. Endometrial Polyps and Subfertility. J Obstet Gynaecol India. 2017;67(1):9-14. doi:10.1007/s13224-016-0929-4
- Haimov-Kochman R, Deri-Hasid R, Hamani Y, Voss E. The natural course of endometrial polyps: could they vanish when left untreated? Fertil Steril. 2009;92(2):828.e11-2. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.04.054
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- "Endometrial Conditions." frankfordhospitals.org. 2008. Frankford Hospitals.
- "Endometrial Polyps." umich.edu. 2006. The University of Michigan.
- "Hysteroscopy." stjohnsmercy.org. 2009. St. John's Mercy Health Care.
- "Infertility -- Uterine Factor." jonesinstitute.org. 2006. The Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine.
- "Pathology Report: Endometrial Polyps." cap.org. 1 April 2005. College of American Pathologists.
- "Sonohysterogram." dhmc.org. 2009. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
- Dreisler, Eva, Soren S. Sorenson, and Gunnar Lose. "Endometrial Polyps and Associated Factors in Danish Women Aged 36-74 Years." American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 200:2(2008): 147.
- Giordano, Giovanna, Letizia Gnettia, Carla Merisio, and Mauro Melpignano. "Postmenopausal Status, Hypertension and Obesity as Risk Factors for Malignant Transformation in Endometrial Polyps ." Maturitas 56:2 (2007):190-197.
- McGurgan, P., L.J. Taylor, S.R. Duffy, and P.J. O'Donovan. "An Immunohistochemical Comparison of Endometrial Polyps From Postmenopausal Women Exposed and Not Exposed to HRT." Maturitas 53:4 (2006):454-461.
- Perez-Medina, Tirso, Jose Bajo Arenas, Francisco Salazar, Teresa Redondo, Luis Sanfrutos, Pilar Alvarez, and Virginia Engels. "Endometrial Polyps and Their Implication in the Pregnancy Rates of Patients Undergoing Intrauterine Insemination: A Prospective, Randomized Study." Human Reproduction 20 (2005):1632-1635.
A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.