Uterine Polyp vs. Fibroid: Knowing the Difference
As women, we generally know when something is not quite right with our bodies. When it comes to growths such as polyps vs. fibroids, there are often accompanying symptoms that alert you to the problem. Perhaps you have noticed abnormal or heavier vaginal bleeding. Maybe your uterus protrudes more than it used to. But how do you know whether the symptoms are from a polyp vs. a fibroid? Though some symptoms can be similar, there are some key differences between polyps vs. fibroids, and it’s important to distinguish between the two.
What are polyps?
Uterine polyps are growths that attach to the walls of the uterus. They are due to an overgrowth of cells in the endometrium or the lining of the uterus. Usually, they are benign, but sometimes they can turn into precancerous polyps, which could lead to cancer. They are most common in women who have experienced menopause, though younger women can also develop polyps.
Symptoms include irregular bleeding, heavy periods, and vaginal bleeding after menopause.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow inside the muscle tissue of the uterus. They generally affect women of childbearing age between 30-50 years old. There are several different types of fibroids that are classified by location. Fibroids cause symptoms that are similar to the ones produced by polyps, which is why some people get them confused.
- Excessive menstrual bleeding
- Pelvic pain and pressure
Diagnosis and treatment
While polyps and fibroids can cause similar issues, they are very different in nature and treatment, so it’s necessary to get checked out by a medical professional. Small polyps can sometimes resolve on their own. Medications can sometimes help with the symptoms of polyps, but are generally not a great long-term solution. If you are at risk for uterine cancer, you will likely need to have surgery to remove the polyp and have it tested.
If fibroids are making your life uncomfortable, there is a non-surgical alternative to hysterectomy. Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive treatment option that has the power to greatly improve your quality of life.
If you have excessive menstrual bleeding, make sure you call your healthcare provider so you can get relief right away!