Often times, uterine polyps and uterine fibroids are categorized as the same condition. However, these two reproductive health issues are very different in their nature and how they’re treated.
In order to understand the differences, we must first understand each condition.
What are Uterine Polyps?
During menstruation, the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) is shed and regenerates after the period cycle. Over time, roundish growths can begin to develop as the endometrium begins to grow back. Uterine polyps are either pedunculated (attached to the uterine wall by a stalk) or sessile (attached by a large base). Typically, polyps grow to be a few millimeters to a few centimeters.
Pedunculated polyps are more common than sessile and 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
- Bleeding after menopause
What are Uterine Fibroids?
Fibroids are also growths within the uterine wall, but are made up of muscle tissue. They typically grow 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 can range in size from a few centimeters all the way up to the size of an orange. Many women who suffer from fibroids feel pelvic pain or pressure, but other common symptoms include:
- Heavy, long-lasting periods
- Frequent urination
- Painful intercourse
The Differences Between Uterine Polyps & Fibroids
Using the information above, here are several key differences between polyps and 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