Polyps vs Fibroids: What’s the Difference?

Many people assume that uterine polyps and uterine fibroids are the same category of condition, but they couldn’t be more wrong. These two reproductive health issues are very different in their nature, which means that each issue should have a very different treatment plan. pain from uterine fibroidsIn order to understand the differences, we first have to understand exactly what characterizes each condition.

What are Uterine Fibroids?

Fibroids are growths within the uterine wall that are made up of muscle tissue. They typically develop within the muscle walls of the uterus and push outward toward the uterus. They tend to develop around a woman’s childbearing years, but can form at any time. 

Fibroids range in size from a few centimeters all the way up to the size of an orange (or, in extreme cases, the size of a small fetus). Many women who suffer from fibroids feel pelvic pain or pressure, but other common symptoms include:

  • Heavy, long-lasting periods
  • Frequent urination
  • Incontinence
  • Painful intercourse
  • Infertility

What are Uterine Polyps?

Like fibroids, polyps are growths that develop around the uterine wall, but that is where the similarities end. During menstruation, the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) is shed and regenerates after the period cycle. Over time, roundish growths (polyps) can begin to develop as the endometrium begins to grow back.  There are two types of polyps: pedunculated (attached to the uterine wall by a stalk) or sessile (attached by a large base). Typically, polyps grow in size from anywhere between a few millimeters to a few centimeters.

Pedunculated polyps are more common than sessile; they can protrude from the uterus into the vagina. Women will typically only feel pain from uterine polyps when this happens. Other common symptoms include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Spotting between menstrual periods
  • Infertility
  • Bleeding after menopause

The Differences Between Uterine Polyps & Fibroids

Here are the main differences between polyps and fibroids:

Uterine Polyps

Uterine Fibroids

Made of endometrium tissue

Made of muscle tissue

Grows within the endometrium tissue

Grows within the uterine wall

Grows to be a few centimeters maximum

Can grow to the size of an orange

Periods are usually irregular and spotty

Periods are usually heavy and long-lasting

Doesn’t usually cause pain

Pain can be chronic and severe


If you are suffering any symptoms listed above, make an appointment with a fibroid specialist. Call Houston Fibroids at (713) 575-3686 to schedule your consultation.