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Fibroids and Polyps: Learning the Difference

Posted on February 06, 2023

What are fibroids and polyps and how can you tell the difference? Well, while both are uterine growths, polyps and fibroids are very different conditions. Fibroids are composed of muscular tissue and usually form within the uterine lining. But polyps form in the uterus' endometrial lining.  Now, both conditions can cause similar symptoms, so this post will review how you can tell the difference between fibroids and polyps.

What are fibroids? difference between fibroids and polyps

Uterine fibroids are common, non-cancerous tumors found on or in the uterus.

They can vary in size, and type, depending on where they form. The four fibroid classifications are:

Subserosal:

One of the most common types of fibroids, which grows outside the uterus.

Intramural:

These fibroids develop within the muscular uterine wall.

Pedunculated:

This fibroid type grows separate from the uterus and is attached by a stalk-like growth to the outer surface or inside the uterus.

Submucosal:

These fibroids are considered the least common and develop under the lining of the uterine cavity.
Although uterine fibroids directly impact the uterus, they have not been linked to an increased risk of developing uterine cancer.

 

What are polyps?

Polyps are uterine growths that attach to the internal wall, jutting into the main uterine cavity.  They form when your endometrial cells experience overgrowth. Most polyps are non-cancerous, but some are pre-cancerour or cancerous, so they may need immediate attention.

Fibroids and Polyps: Similarities and Differences

Both fibroids and polyps can make your period heavier than normal, or make you experience bleeding after menopause or between your periods.

Still, there are many differences between these conditions. Polyps usually don't grow to large sizes, while fibroids can grow to tremendous sizes if left untreated. Also, we diagnose these conditions differently. To detect fibroids, we use transvaginal ultrasound, hysteroscopy and, sometimes, biopsy. In contrast, you'll need an abdominal ultrasound to diagnoses polyps, in addition to a biopsy and/or a hysteroscopy.

Now, unlike fibroids, untreated polyps can develop into cancerous tumors. As a result, you'll probably want to seek immediate treatment, whereas you have more time to consider your treatment options if you're living with uterine fibroids. Even better? There are many non-surgical treatment plans that can manage fibroid symptoms and shrink or eliminate your growths. While some women choose to manage their fibroids with hormonal birth control, others will prefer a more permanent solution, such as uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). Still others may opt for a myomectomy--the surgical removal of individual fibroids. But every woman should know that a hysterectomy is the not the only way to treat fibroids.

Want to explore your fibroid treatment options and learn if you're a good candidate for UFE in the Houston area? Schedule a consultation with our experts in the greater Houston area. Together, we'll explore your options and get you started on the road to symptom relief.

 

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