What is a polyp?
It is not unusual for a woman to get polyps at some stage in her life, especially in the years before the menopause. They are most commonly found on the neck of the womb (cervix) or on the lining of the womb (endometrium).
If you have polyps on the cervix, it is quite likely that they are benign and, if they are not too big, can be removed quite easily in the Outpatient Clinic. When polyps are found on the lining of the uterus, (possibly you have been having heavy or irregular bleeding, or had episodes of bleeding between periods) they are also most probably benign but need removing under general anaesthetic.
If you have polyps and have gone through your menopause, you may experience an episode of bleeding. In this case you should see a gynaecologist who may suggest a hysteroscopy to remove the polyps.
Click here to read about the treatment(s) involved in treating Polyps. If you would like more information or wish to make an appointment regarding polyps, please get in contact.
Typical symptoms of polyps
Having heavy or irregular bleeding, or episodes of bleeding between periods are the most common symptoms of polyps.
Polyps can appear at any time of a woman’s life, but more usually they appear in the years before the menopause. They are usually diagnosed at the time of a cervical smear, where they are noted by the practice nurse or GP on the cervix or neck of the womb.
Treatment for polyps
Polyps on the cervix
These polyps found on the cervix are usually benign and can be removed quite easily by the consultant in the Outpatient Clinic, with an examination that is not dissimilar to having a smear taken. Sometimes, if the polyp is a little larger, your consultant may recommend that it is removed under general anaesthetic and sometimes with the aid of a telescope through the cervix called hysteroscopy.
Polyps on the endometrium
Polyps sometimes occur on the endometrium, or lining of the womb, and they may be diagnosed from a pelvic ultrasound or possibly because you have experienced heavy or irregular bleeding, or sometimes with episodes of bleeding between periods, known as intermenstrual bleeding.
These polyps are usually benign but cannot be removed in the Outpatient Clinic. Instead they require a general anaesthetic and removal with a hysteroscope passed through the cervix. This is a straightforward procedure, carried out as a day case under general anaesthetic. If you have heavy periods in conjunction with a polyp on the lining of the uterus and your family is complete, the consultant may suggest that you consider an endometrial ablation or resection procedure at the same time as removal of the polyp. This is a treatment that destroys the lining of the uterus and gives around a 50% chance that the periods will stop altogether; if they do not stop, they are usually a lot lighter.
When polyps are present, either in the cervix or on the lining of the uterus and you have gone through your menopause, they may cause an episode of bleeding known as post-menopausal bleeding. This would require further investigation and treatment, usually with removal of the polyps through hysteroscopy.
Once removed, the polyps are always sent to a histopathologist to look at under the microscope but are usually benign.