Removal of Uterine Polyps
Uterine polyps are also known as endometrial polyps and refer to small growths in the inner lining of the uterus in women. The polyps resemble flat bumps or small mushrooms. You could have one of several polyps at a time. The polyps vary in size and could range from a few millimeters to six centimeters. The highest percentage of uterine polyps is benign, meaning that they do not cause cancer. Uterine polyps come from the tissue that lines the walls of the uterus known as the endometrium. Gyn LA provides the best treatment for uterine polyps, and we invite you to connect with our experienced Los Angeles gynecologists to learn more about our services.
Symptoms of Uterine Polyps
After developing uterine polyps, most women do not have any symptoms, and a majority of them do not require any treatment. However, gynecologists have several ways of detecting uterine polyps and getting rid of them. Uterine polyps may have specific symptoms, including:
- Heavy or excessive bleeding
- Spotting and bleeding in between your periods
- Prolapse; this occurs if a uterine polyp protrudes through the cervix, out of the uterus
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Irregular menstrual periods- you might be unable to predict the heaviness, length, and timing of your periods
- Trouble conceiving
Causes of Uterine Polyps
Experts are not aware of the exact cause of uterine polyps. However, experts link the occurrence of polyps to hormonal changes. Every month, women experience rises and falls of estrogen levels; this makes the wall of the uterus to thicken and eventually shed during your periods. When there is excessive growth or thickening of the uterine wall, polyps are likely to occur.
There are several risk factors for endometrial polyps, including age. As you age, you might become more prone to uterine polyps; most women develop polyps between the ages of 40 and 50 years. Before the onset of menopause, women experience changes in estrogen levels; this change could lead to the development of polyps. You could also be at a higher risk if you are obese or if you have high blood pressure. Tamoxifen, a drug used to treat breast cancer, could also increase the risk of developing polyps.
Complications Arising from Uterine Polyps
Most endometrial polyps are not cancer; however, if the polyps are left untreated, they might develop into cancer. The chances of the polyps becoming cancerous are higher in women who have undergone menopause. If you have polyps, you could have a hard time conceiving, and if you conceive, chances of getting a miscarriage are high. The endometrial polyps could prevent a fertilized egg from attaching on your uterus, thus preventing conception. The growths could also block the cervix and fallopian tubes. The removal of endometrial polyps could help improve the chance of conceiving.
Diagnosing Uterine Polyps
Your doctor could use different procedures to diagnose endometrial polyps. If the doctor confirms the presence of the polyps, he/she can remove them immediately. Before undergoing the diagnosis, your doctor might have you take pain relievers, antibiotics, or medication to help dilate your cervix. Some of the common tests used to diagnose endometrial polyps are:
When performing this ultrasound, your doctor will put a small device that resembles a wand into your vagina. The device will produce sound waves and send the waves to a computer creating images of your uterus on the computer.
Sonohysterography or Hysterosonography
While performing a transvaginal ultrasound, your doctor can use this procedure. It entails inserting a small tube known as a catheter through your vagina. The doctor will then inject or pass salt water into your uterus. The salty water will help your uterus to expand; this will enable the doctor to get a more accurate ultrasound.
Your doctor could also perform a biopsy of the walls of your uterus to help diagnose uterine polyps. This procedure entails taking out a small tissue from the wall of your uterus using a soft plastic. The doctor then sends the tissue removed from your uterine wall to a lab for testing and analysis. This analysis helps to determine whether the polyps are cancerous.
This diagnosis procedure entails inserting a thin and flexible telescope into your uterus through the vagina and the cervix. This telescope, commonly known as a hysteroscopy, enables the doctor to examine the tissues lining the inner part of your uterus. If your doctor notices polyps, he/she can remove them immediately.
While performing this procedure, a doctor uses a metal instrument, which contains a loop on one edge. The instrument comes in handy in removing a portion of polyp for testing. The instrument would also come in handy to remove polyps.
The treatment procedure that your dentist will recommend will depend on your case. Smaller uterine polyps may fade away without any treatment. Your doctor has to monitor you closely to ensure that the growths do not get larger. If you do not have any symptoms and if the polyps are not cancerous, your doctor might decide that treatment is not necessary. However, treatment is particularly necessary for women who have reached the menopause age. For these women, the risk of developing cancer is high. Some of the treatment procedures include:
Certain medications could help manage uterine polyps by controlling your hormone levels because the polyps mainly occur due to hormone fluctuations. The medications can help ease the symptoms of endometrial polyps, including excessive bleeding. Some medications could also help to shrink the endometrial polyps. Even medications are effective in treating endometrial polyps; the symptoms are likely to recur once you stop taking the medication.
In some cases, your doctor might recommend surgery as a treatment for endometrial polyps. The doctor will first use some special tools to remove samples of the polyps from your uterus. After analyzing the samples, the doctor might recommend surgery if the polyps have cancer cells.
During surgery, your doctor might perform a hysterectomy, which entails removing the entire uterus. The doctor can perform either a vaginal hysterectomy or an abdominal hysterectomy. A vaginal hysterectomy occurs through the vagina, while an abdominal hysterectomy entails making an incision in the stomach area and removing the uterus. The two surgeries take place in a hospital setting, and the doctor has to administer general anesthesia.
Before the Treatment
While preparing to undergo treatment for the removal of uterine polyps, you have to take the necessary precautions and prepare in advance. You have to undergo a general health checkup to determine whether you are a good candidate for the treatment. It is important to ensure that you disclose to the doctor about any pre-existing medical conditions.
If you are on any supplements or medications, it is crucial to ensure that you inform the doctor. Some medications can thin your blood, and this could lead to excessive bleeding during surgery. Your doctor might advise you to discontinue using certain medications before you undergo surgery. The medications that could put you at risk include naproxen, aspirin, ibuprofen, clopidogrel, and warfarin. Some herbal and natural supplements could also have blood-thinning effects. The supplements that could thin the blood include garlic, ginger, vitamin E, feverfew, and ginkgo Biloba. You should not withhold any information regarding medications of supplements from your doctor.
Before the removal of uterine polyps, it might be necessary to undergo specific blood tests. The tests will help your doctor determine if you are healthy or fit for the medical procedure. The blood tests will also determine your blood group just in case you require a blood transfusion during surgery. Blood tests are important, especially if you are to undergo an abdominal hysterectomy. The doctor might also conduct other tests like follow-up ultrasound or imaging tests before performing the surgery.
If you are a smoker, your doctor might advise you to stay away from cigarettes before the surgery. Smoking of tobacco, cigarettes, or marijuana would increase the risk of complications during or after treatment. It is advisable to refrain from smoking four to six weeks before undergoing the procedure.
It is also important to inform your doctor about your menstrual cycle. The doctor cannot perform the procedure while you are on your periods. Usually, the procedure takes place after your menstrual bleeding has stopped, and before the onset of ovulation. Therefore, the surgery should take place within ten days after your menstrual period.
To help prevent infection during and after surgery, your doctor might recommend antibiotics. Painkillers would also come in handy to help manage the pain that could result from polyp removal.
On the day of uterine polyp removal, it is advisable to have someone drive you home after the procedure. Due to the administration of general anesthesia, it might be hard for you to drive home on your own after polyp removal. While taking certain medications, you are also likely to be drowsy, making you unable to operate a vehicle. You will not be able to eat or drink anything for up to 12 hours if you are going to require general anesthesia. If you have to take medication before the procedure, you should take the medication with only a sip of water. It might also be necessary to consult with the anesthesiologist some days before the surgery or on the day of the operation.
Before undergoing surgery, you have to empty your bowels before. With an empty bladder, all forms of abdominal examinations and procedures will feel comfortable.
After the removal of uterine polyps, most patients go home the same day. For a day or two, after undergoing surgery, you are likely to experience vaginal bleeding and increased cramping. Due to gas administered during the procedure, you are also likely to experience gas pains for several days after treatment. The pain might extend to your upper abdomen; you can help relieve the pressure by walking. The surgery has a short recovery period, and you will feel better within the first few days.
Some women usually experience a water discharge with some blood for several weeks after the removal of uterine polyps. You should expect the flow to be heavy at the beginning and then reduce over time. For several weeks after surgery, you should refrain from lifting, pushing, or pulling heavy objects to avoid interrupting the healing process. You should not resume douche or sexual intercourse until your gynecologist gives you the go-ahead. The full recovery period takes about two weeks; this period allows ample internal healing.
Your doctor will probably recommend some pain medication to help manage any pain that you are likely to experience after the removal of uterine polyps. Even if it is normal to experience water discharge and bleeding after treatment, you should contact your doctor if you notice very heavy bleeding. You should also be concerned if the bleeding stops and then resumes. If you see a discharge with a foul smell, it could be an indication that you have an infection.
When the doctor removes a polyp, he/she sends it to the lab for testing. If the polyp is not cancerous, you will just undergo a minor exam after the removal, and you will not require further treatment. However, if the polyp turns out to be cancerous, you have to undergo cancer treatment.
Risks Associated with Polyp Removal
Just like any other type of surgery, polyp removal has some risks. Some of the common risks that patients face while undergoing the procedure include:
- Excessive Bleeding- Excessive bleeding can occur if the surgical site does not heal properly and leads to excessive loss of blood
- Organ Perforation- The doctor might accidentally perforate the organ he/she is operating on, and if this occurs, the outcome could be fatal. However, organ perforation is a rare occurrence
- Infection- A patient could develop an infection after removal of uterine polyps. Surgery creates a wound; therefore, if a patient fails to follow a doctor's counsel, it could result in infection
- Incomplete Removal of Uterine Polyps- Some times, a doctor might operate and unknowingly fail to remove some of the uterine polyps. In this case, you would have to undergo a second surgery.
Find a Reliable Los Angeles Gynecologist Near Me
If uterine polyps are not causing you any discomfort and have no symptoms, it is not mandatory to undergo treatment. However, if your doctor recommends the removal of polyps, you have to ensure that only an expert performs the procedure. Having an expert gynecologist remove the uterine polyps will reduce the risks of the treatment procedure. For the best polyp removal services, contact Gyn LA at 310-375-8446 and speak to one of our experienced gynecologists.