Women who have either uterine polyps or fibroids can be asymptomatic, meaning they have no symptoms. They can go through life oblivious to these conditions unless they begin to have certain symptoms, and that is usually when there is a diagnosis. Uterine polyps vs fibroids: what’s the difference?
Fibroids are comprised of the fibrous tissue coming from the smooth muscle of the uterus. They are benign tumors that extend into the uterine cavity. They are non-cancerous, and it is believed that they grow due to estrogen. Approximately 80% of women in their reproductive years have fibroids although a much smaller group has noticeable symptoms.
They can be tiny or as large as a grapefruit. Although many women do not have any symptoms, the larger they become, the more they can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle and quality of life.
The most common symptoms from fibroids include the following issues:
- Irregular periods
- Pelvic pain
- Very heavy periods and prolonged bleeding resulting in anemia
- Stomach bloating
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Fertility issues
See Birmingham Obstetrics & Gynecology in Birmingham, AL if you are experiencing any of these signs of fibroids.
A uterine polyp is very different from a fibroid. Polyps are the endometrial overgrowth of cells not shed during menstruation that normally would flush out with the blood flow.
These abnormal growths are typically non-cancerous, but they may change if they continue to grow and are not treated. They range in size from half of a kernel of rice to as large as a golf ball. Women of all ages can develop polyps, but they usually occur in women 40 to 50.
The most common symptoms of uterine polyps are as follows:
- Irregular periods
- Bleeding between periods
- Unusually heavy periods
- Bleeding after menopause
Since the signs of both uterine polyps and fibroids are somewhat similar, it is essential that Birmingham Obstetrics & Gynecology perform an examination to determine which type of abnormal growth is causing your symptoms.
Main Differences Between Uterine Polyps vs Fibroids
Polyps consist of tissue that lines the uterus, known as endometrium, whereas fibroids are made of connective tissue and muscle cells. Some of their symptoms overlap, so it’s important to get a diagnosis.
Polyps remain relatively small compared to fibroids which can grow so large they stretch the uterus.
The most concerning difference is that polyps can become cancerous.
Contact Birmingham Obstetrics & Gynecology at (205) 933-8334 if you are having any symptoms related to uterine polyps or fibroids.