Polyps often resemble skin tags, but on the inside. Like other polyps that can appear in your body, ovarian polyps are usually non-cancerous, but can get in the way of normal functioning. They also may lead to cancer if not removed. While they sometimes exhibit no outward symptoms, they can cause pain if they grow too large. If you experience any pain, discomfort or excessive bleeding, seek an examination from your skilled gynecologist at Century Medical and Dental Center in Brooklyn. Call today for an appointment.
Distinguishing the differences between ovarian polyps, uterine fibroids, and ovarian cysts can seem daunting. Although each may trigger similar symptoms, your best Brooklyn gynecologist devises different treatment plans, depending on which you have:
- Uterine fibroids are a type of tumor. They usually test as benign or non-cancerous. They may develop in the uterus when you’re in your 30s and 40s. Doctors can’t explain why they develop. Fibroids usually consist of muscular material, and their primary symptoms revolve around their effect on other organs.
- Ovarian cysts consist of fluid-filled sacs that may initially perform a normal bodily function and then for some reason don’t dissipate as they should. Most resolve on their own, but occasionally these cysts result in tumors that your gynecologist may need to biopsy to test for malignancy or cancer.
- Ovarian polyps form as tiny tissue growths, similar to skin tags. With mushroom-like stalks, polyps usually form from benign cells, but your doctor may want to take a sample. An ovarian polyp vs. cyst diagnosis depends on the type of tissue comprising the growth.
Causes of Ovarian Polyps
Doctors are still researching to find the exact cause of ovarian polyps, but some suggest that inflammation and extra estrogen may play a role, especially since endometrial polyps form from uterine lining material growing outside the uterus. Although most polyps are benign, they often grow into rapidly dividing cells. Ovarian polyps tend to grow in bunches or become very large. These types of polyps can later become cancerous or interfere with conception or pregnancies.
Ovarian polyps may show no symptoms or may cause a painful twisting condition called torsion. Torsion not only affects the normal functioning of the ovary, but also may require the removal of that ovary. Before any treatment, your doctor determines whether your ovarian polyps affect your normal menstruation, ovarian function or pregnancy desires.
Types of Polyps
Polyps fall into two main categories: pedunculated and sessile. The differences involve:
- Pedunculated polyps resemble small mushrooms and attach to the ovary via the stalk or stem. The majority of polyps fall into this category. The tissue and appearance look like the small skin tags you occasionally experience on your skin.
- Sessile polyps are flat, mostly circular discs. They attach directly to the ovary or other organs in the same way as cervical polyps.
Both types of polyps may have smooth or bumpy, irregular surfaces, but nothing about the texture indicates its type, cause or possible malignancy. Many women aren’t aware of polyps because most remain so small as to be undetectable and asymptomatic.
Symptoms of Problematic Ovarian Polyps
Most polyps remain small and go undetected. They represent benign tissue that doesn’t hurt you. Occasionally, though, complications from polyps result in:
- Discomfort, pain, pressure or interference in the organ’s function due to polyps pushing against other organs or tissue
- Increased bleeding from the extra pressure during intercourse, menstruation or even between periods
- Abdominal cramping
- Compromised reproductive cycles that could lead to infertility
You may be at higher risk for developing polyps if you:
- Have trouble controlling your weight
- Develop high blood pressure
- Are in your 40s and 50s, when your body is experiencing changes in estrogen
- Take the drug tamoxifen to treat breast cancer
Treatment for Polyps
After detecting your polyps through a pelvic exam, ultrasound or x-ray, your Brooklyn gynecologist at Century Medical and Dental Center determines the best treatment option for you. Treatments are limited to:
- A wait-and-see approach to determine if the polyps are growing enough to compromise the surrounding tissue
- Surgical removal of the polyps and any compromised tissue, especially if you’re experiencing exaggerated menstrual symptoms, such as excess bleeding, lower back pain, and bloating
Most gynecologists perform laparoscopy surgery to remove ovarian polyps. This minimally invasive procedure allows your doctor to access your abdomen through tiny incisions. By inserting tubes with a camera, tiny scalpel and suction equipment, your doctor excises the polyp and suctions it out. If she discovers a sessile polyp, she might carefully cut away the polyp while retaining as much of the healthy ovarian tissue as possible. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis.
Recovering from the Polyp Removal
You usually need just a minimal amount of over-the-counter pain relievers after laparoscopic surgery since it’s one of the least invasive surgical methods. Most gynecologists suggest resting quietly for a few days to allow your body to heal and ensure there are no complications from the surgery. Your doctor sends an excised polyp to the laboratory for testing to determine if it’s malignant.
At Century Medical and Dental Center, you have access to a range of experienced medical specialists. Consult with your doctor of medicine today regarding any symptoms of concern that may point to ovarian polyps. The sooner you receive treatment, the more likely you’ll have a successful outcome.