What are Polyps?
Polyps are small growths that develop on the lining of the womb (uterus) or cervix.
Characteristics of Polyps
- Usually benign (non-cancerous) but can be cancerous or can eventually turn into cancer
- Can be as small as a sesame seed or as large as a golf ball
- Can be single or multiple
- Usually remain in uterus, but occasionally, can slip down through the opening of the uterus (cervix) into the vagina
- Commonly occur in women who are going through or have completed menopause
Symptoms of Polyps
- Irregular & unpredictable menstrual bleeding
- Bleeding between menstrual periods
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse
- Pelvic pain
- Excessively heavy menstrual periods
- Only light bleeding or spotting
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
Hysteroscopy & Polyps
A hysteroscopy is basically a procedure used to examine and diagnose an abnormality inside the uterus (womb). It can also be used to remove abnormal growths like polyps from the womb.
The procedure is performed in an outpatient setting under general or local anaesthesia and after inflation of the uterus with fluid like saline. Surgeon opens the wall of vagina with the help of a speculum and then inserts the hysteroscope through the cervix, into the womb. Surgeon can now inspect the lining of the uterus and look for intrauterine pathology such as fibroids or polyps. To remove uterine polyps, other instruments are inserted through the hysteroscope and the removed polyps are sent to a lab for microscopic examination.
The instruments used might be scissors for smaller cases, or a ‘resectoscope’ for bigger cases. The resectoscope uses electrical current to cut tissue.
A hysteroscopy usually takes between 10 and 60 minutes, depending upon the need of the procedure.
What happens after a Hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is most often done on an outpatient basis and no special care is required after the procedure. Patient may complain of the following:
- Cramping and vaginal bleeding for a day or two
- Gas in the digestive tract that may cause pain
- Pain in upper abdomen and shoulder
These all can be easily managed by simple medications, unless they cause acute discomfort to the patient. In case, any of the symptoms become worse, patient should immediately contact the surgeon.
Advantages of Hysteroscopy for removal of Polyps:
- No incision procedure
- Quick recovery time
- Patient can go home the same day following hysteroscopic surgery
- Women can return to work even the next day
- No abdominal wound
- Minimal postoperative pain
- No wound infections