Some common symptoms of fibroids include heavy and painful periods, bloating, lower back pain, abnormal vaginal discharge, urination issues, and an enlarged abdominal area. Irregular periods are the most notable sign of uterine polyps. Symptoms like bleeding in between periods, an irregular cycle, heavy bleeding, and bleeding after menopause can all indicate that a polyp has grown in the uterus.
Different types of fibroids
There are 4 major types of fibroids known as submucosal, intramural, subserosal, and pedunculated. Submucosal fibroids expand within the uterine cavity, while intramural ones grow along the uterine wall. Subserosal fibroids attach to the outermost uterine wall, while pedunculated growths are connected to the uterus by a thin piece of tissue. A healthcare provider can help determine the exact type of fibroid present.
The root cause of uterine growths
Researchers are unsure of the exact causes of uterine fibroids and polyps. Many researchers believe the growths are a result of excess estrogen hormones. Fibroids tend to grow during a woman’s reproductive years. Polyps may be a symptom of an overgrown endometrium. Genetics can also influence whether or not a growth appears in the uterus.
Exploring the infertility connection
When thinking about uterine growths and fertility, the biggest issue is often the size and location of the polyps or fibroids. Polyps cause problems by interfering with the egg fertilization process. Once an egg is fertilized by sperm, the egg attaches itself to the endometrium to grow and receive nourishment. The presence of uterine polyps can block the attachment, resulting in miscarriage. Fibroids can take up space in the uterine cavity and hinder embryo growth. The lack of space for the baby can increase the chance of miscarriage, placental abruption, and preterm delivery.
Making a diagnosis
Doctors must perform imaging tests and physical exams to properly diagnose patients with fibroids or polyps. Doctors will order magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, or hysteroscopy to visualize the growth. During a hysteroscopy, doctors use a narrow tube with a light, called a hysteroscope, to look into the uterus.
A comprehensive treatment plan
Once doctors have diagnosed a patient with uterine polyps or fibroids, a treatment plan is the next step. Oftentimes, if the fibroid or polyp is not bothersome to the woman, the growth can be left alone. Doctors may prescribe iron supplements or birth control medication to help manage symptoms and prevent further growth. In serious cases, and when fertility is impacted, doctors will perform surgery to remove the fibroids or polyps.
Making uterine space for baby
Patients exhibiting any common fibroid or polyp symptoms should consult a physician. This is especially true if the patient is planning a pregnancy or having difficulty conceiving. The doctor will be able to properly diagnose and treat the polyps and fibroids. Once the growth is treated or removed from the uterus, symptoms should be less bothersome and pregnancy should be much more possible.