Uterine polyps are growths attached to inner wall of the uterus and protruding into the uterine cavity. Overgrowth of cells in the lining of the uterus (endometrium) leads to the formation of uterine polyps. The sizes of uterine polyps range from a few millimeters — no larger than a sesame seed — to several centimeters — golf ball sized or larger. They are attached to the uterine wall by a large base or a thin stalk.
You can have one or many uterine polyps. They usually stay contained within your uterus, but occasionally, they may slip down through the opening of the uterus into your vagina. Although they can happen in younger women, uterine polyps most commonly occur in women in their 40s and 50s.
Uterine polyps attach to your uterus by a large base or a thin stalk and can grow to be several centimeters in size. Irregular menstrual bleeding, excessively heavy menstrual flow or bleeding between ...
It's possible to have uterine polyps without signs or symptoms.
Signs of uterine polyps include:
Uterine polyps can develop in pre- or postmenopausal women. Postmenopausal women may experience only light bleeding or spotting.
When to see a doctor
Although the exact cause of uterine polyps is unknown, hormonal factors appear to play a role. Uterine polyps are estrogen-sensitive, meaning that they respond to estrogen in the same way that the lining of your uterus does — growing in response to circulating estrogen.
You're at greater risk of developing uterine polyps if:
Whether uterine polyps lead to infertility remains controversial. However, if you have uterine polyps and you've been experiencing infertility, removal of the polyps might boost your fertility. In one study, infertile women who underwent surgical polyp removal (hysteroscopic polypectomy) had much higher pregnancy rates — 63 percent versus 28 percent — after intrauterine insemination (IUI) than did women with uterine polyps who underwent IUI alone.
Uterine polyps also may present an increased risk of miscarriage in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). If you're undergoing IVF treatment and you have uterine polyps, your doctor will probably recommend polyp removal before embryo transfer.
Preparing for your appointment
Your first appointment will likely be with either your primary care provider or a gynecologist.
Because appointments can be brief, and it can be difficult to remember everything you want to discuss, it's a good idea to prepare in advance of your appointment.
What you can do
For uterine polyps, some basic questions to ask include:
Make sure that you understand completely everything that your doctor tells you. Don't hesitate to ask your doctor to repeat information or to ask follow-up questions for clarification.
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
If your doctor suspects that you have uterine polyps, he or she might perform one of the following tests or procedures:
Most uterine polyps are noncancerous (benign). However, some precancerous changes of the uterus (endometrial hyperplasia) or uterine cancers (endometrial carcinoma) appear as uterine polyps. Your doctor may send a tissue sample for laboratory analysis to be certain you don't have uterine cancer.
During a transvaginal ultrasound, your doctor or a medical technician inserts a wand-like device (transducer) into your vagina while you lie on your back on an exam table. The transducer emits sound ...
A doctor uses a catheter to inject salt water (saline) into the cavity of your uterus. An ultrasound probe obtains images of the uterine cavity. ...
A thin, lighted telescope called a hysteroscope allows the doctor to view your uterine cavity. ...
Treatments and drugs
To treat uterine polyps, you might consider:
Uterine polyps, once removed, can recur. It's possible that you might need to undergo treatment more than once if you experience recurring uterine polyps.
Last Updated: 2010-04-24
© 1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
Terms and conditions of use