Unsuccessful attempts at becoming pregnant can be devastating. And because there may be undiagnosed conditions contributing to your infertility, it is important to see a knowledgeable fertility doctor so you can be properly diagnosed and learn about your treatment options. Uterine polyps are among the common conditions that are found in patients who are unable to conceive. Many women suffer from uterine polyps. In fact, one study conducted by the Carmel Medical Center found that as many as 24 percent of women have endometrial polyps. At Fertility Center of San Antonio in San Antonio, TX, our doctors can perform testing to determine whether you have uterine polyps and whether treatment can improve your chances of pregnancy.
Studies show that 24 percent of women have uterine polyps.
What Are Uterine Polyps?
Polyps are small growths that can occur inside of the uterus. They are attached to your endometrial lining and extend inward into the uterine cavity. They range in size and can grow to a few centimeters in diameter.
Causes & Risk Factors
There is no known cause of polyps, but your risk of developing uterine polyps is higher if you are:
- Approaching menopause or are experiencing menopause
- Suffering from hypertension
- Receiving treatment for breast cancer
- Taking medication that blocks estrogen
Although uterine polyps are usually not life-threatening or cancerous, they could be making it more difficult for you and your partner to become pregnant.
Although uterine polyps are usually not cancerous, they can affect your menstrual cycle and impair your ability to have children. Women who have uterine polyps typically experience:
- Irregularly long or short gaps between periods
- Unusually heavy bleeding during periods
- Frequent spotting between periods
- Infertility or miscarriage
- Heavy bleeding after sexual intercourse
Because polyps don't usually have symptoms outside of affecting your menstrual cycle and fertility, many cases go undiagnosed until visiting a fertility doctor for screening.
How Polyps Interfere with Fertility
It is believed that uterine polyps may contribute to infertility because:
- They make it more difficult for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterine walls
- They block sperm from joining with an egg
- They block sperm from entering the uterus
One study published by Fertility and Sterility® found that one in seven women who were of reproductive age but considered infertile also suffered from endometrial polyps.
To determine which treatment option is best for you, we will first conduct a review of your medical history and menstrual history. We will also conduct a series of exams that may include an ultrasound, biopsy, hysterosalpingogram (HSG), or saline infusion sonography (SIS).
Most polyps can be removed with a hysteroscopic polyp removal. This outpatient surgical procedure can typically be completed in under one hour. During the surgery, one of our doctors will insert a small scope into your uterine cavity to determine the exact location of the polyp. The polyp is then removed from the uterine wall with a small device inserted through a narrow opening in the hysteroscope. The use of the scope reduces the risk of healthy surrounding tissue being damaged during polyp removal. Because the procedure is performed through the vaginal opening, there are no incisions required.
After a hysteroscopic polyp removal, you may experience light cramping and discomfort. You may also be asked to avoid sexual intercourse for at least one week. However, there is very minimal downtime and most women can usually return to their normal daily routine right away.
Although there is no guarantee that you will conceive after polyp removal, some studies suggest higher pregnancy rates in women who undergo polyp removal. One study published in the Journal of Human Reproduction suggested that women who underwent polyp removal prior to artificial insemination were more likely to become pregnant.
Find the Cause of Your Infertility
Although uterine polyps are usually not life-threatening or cancerous, they could be making it more difficult for you and your partner to become pregnant. To schedule a screening at Fertility Center of San Antonio, call us at (210) 692-0577 or contact us online.