Uterine fibroids and uterine polyps. What is the difference between a polyp and a fibroid?

It’s very common to confuse uterine polyps and fibroids. However, it’s important to know the difference to ensure your reproductive system is healthy. Keep reading as we uncover the similarities and differences by comparing uterine polyps vs fibroids.

What are Uterine Fibroids?

In short, Uterine Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in various locations in the uterus. This condition can only develop in women ranging from age 18-50. Uterine fibroids are made up of smooth muscle cells and connective fibrous tissue. They can cause a range of symptoms like abdominal pain or cramping, excessive bleeding or irregular periods, fatigue, bloating, and pain during intercourse.

Uterine fibroids are a common condition, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, about 20 to 80 percent of women will develop uterine fibroids by age 50.

What is a Uterine Polyp?

Uterine polyps, on the other hand, are more serious than uterine fibroids because they have a higher potential of becoming cancerous. Many women are not familiar with what is a uterine polyp or what causes them. A polyp is an area of bulging tissue on the uterine walls. Women that are not yet menopausal will typically release these polyps during each period. This condition occurs as the uterine tissue grows abnormally. Uterine polyps most commonly appear inside the uterus, however they can also appear on the cervical opening. Uterine polyps themselves are not cancer, however they can become cancerous if left untreated.

Like fibroids, uterine polyps can only develop in women. They are most common in women above age 40. The actual cause of polyps is unknown; however, many researchers believe it has something to do with hormone levels. Risks factors for uterine polyps include obesity, high blood pressure, and taking certain medicines for breast cancer.

What’s the Difference Between Uterine Polyps vs Fibroids?

The main difference between fibroids and polyps is the tissue they are made of. As mentioned earlier, fibroids are made of a connective fibrous tissue, whereas polyps are made up of the same tissue that makes up the uterine lining, also known as endometrial tissue. Uterine fibroids very rarely turn into cancer; however, they can cause debilitating and painful symptoms.

Uterine fibroids and polyps have a few things in common. These conditions are rarely life-threatening, however it’s still important to have accurate information to ensure proper prevention and treatment.

Symptoms and Signs of Uterine Polyps vs Fibroids

Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Excessive or prolonged periods
  • Stomach bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Painful intercourse
Symptoms of Uterine Polyps

  • Irregular periods
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Heavy period bleeding
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Infertility
 

As you may notice, the signs of uterine polyps and fibroids are similar, but the signs of uterine polyps are more associated with bleeding than fibroids. One of the most common things about uterine fibroids and uterine polyps is their unpredictability. Both uterine growths vary in size, number, and location. They also have various causes and risk factors which is why they can be difficult to diagnose without ultrasound.

Treatment for Uterine Fibroids and Polyps

When comparing uterine polyps vs fibroids, both do not require treatment if they do not cause any symptoms. For women that do experience symptoms, there are several different treatment methods available. Uterine fibroids can be treated through removal, also known as a myomectomy. They can also be treated by being zapped with radio frequencies, also known as radiofrequency ablation.

Another form of uterine fibroid treatment is Uterine Fibroid Embolization. During this process, the flow of blood is cut off from the fibroids which helps to alleviate symptoms. As the blood flow is cut off, the fibroid then begins to shrink over time. This is a highly sought-after treatment option for fibroids because it preserves the uterus and fertility.

Treatment for both uterine polyps vs fibroids is similar in that it requires some mild surgery. Hormone releasing medications may also be used for women with mild cases of polyps. Hysteroscopy surgery is beneficial for women with recurring polyps. During a hysteroscopy, a small surgical tool in inserted into the vagina to remove the polyps. If the polyps are cancerous, unfortunately the only treatment is removal of the whole uterus, also known as hysterectomy.

Contact Us

At USA Fibroid Centers we know how scary it can be to have uterine fibroids or uterine polyps. We understand how valuable your fertility and reproductive system is, and we want you to know were here to help Our network of clinics is the nation’s #1 medical facility for treatment of uterine fibroids. We exclusively offer Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). UFE is a non-surgical treatment for symptomatic fibroids that can be done in an outpatient setting and requires little downtime for recovery.

If you would like to speak with an expert to determine if you have uterine polyps vs fibroids, give us a call today at 855.615.2555. We can help you set up an appointment to determine the cause of your symptoms. If you’ve been having irregular or extremely painful periods, don’t wait to find out what’s causing it. Reach out to us today to take the first step towards a healthier you today.

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