Many times gynecologists tell the patients that they have conditions like fibroids or polyps or cysts. And the patient is left to wonder what all these terminologies mean actually. Here is a discussion which will clear all your doubts about the differences between all these three pathologies.
Uterine fibroids are made up of smooth muscle fibres. They grow within the thick musculature of the uterine wall. They are solid in nature and have a fixed location. The fibroids are oestrogen dependent. Their size may increase due to oestrogen exposure. They also are said to run in families they are more common in the reproductive age group. The sizes of the fibroids may vary from as small as a pea nut to as large as a watermelon. The common symptoms of a uterine fibroid include an enlargement in the abdominal girth which can be mistaken for weight gain and pregnancy, pain in the pelvic region, increased menstrual blood flow, increased frequency of urination, pain during sex etc. Ultrasound examination is done to diagnose fibroids. MRI can also be used for an accurate measure of the location and the dimensions. The fibroids are mostly asymptomatic. At this level, it doesn’t need to be treated. But when it starts showing symptoms, it has to be removed surgically or laparoscopically.
Polyps usually consist of endometrial tissue (the innermost layer of the uterine wall) grown in excess. They stem as an outgrowth from the inner lining of the uterus. They may have a large base or they can also be pedunculated. They are found in sizes varying from few millimetres to few centimetres. If they have peduncles, they might protrude through cervix into vaginal passage. They might even carry blood vessels in them. Polyps can also be seen in females after menopause. The females complain of excessively heavy menstrual bleeding, irregular menstrual cycles, vaginal bleeding even after menopause. Patient may also suffer from spotting that is bleeding in the time period between two menstrual cycles. Patient will also face problems in conceiving. They are diagnosed with the help of ultrasound.
The word cyst actually means a cavity which is filled with watery fluid. These sacs when found in ovary are called as ovarian cysts. They are balloon like structures filled with fluids. The sizes may vary from a few millimetres to few centimetres. Many times these ovarian cysts do not cause any symptoms. At times, the patient may feel bloated, pain in lower abdomen and lower back. They may also cause irritable bowel movements. If this cyst ever gets twisted, it may lead to feeling nausea and vomiting sensation. These cysts are commonly seen in ovaries in a polycystic ovarian syndrome. They also commonly appear in cases of pelvic inflammation. They may also disappear in few months spontaneously. Ovarian cysts are commonly diagnosed by USG, CT scan or MRI. Some hormonal tests can also be advised by the doctor. Many times cysts are present along with some other underlying condition. Small cysts tend to disappear on their own or with some medications; bigger cysts however might require surgical or laparoscopic intervention. Also the possibility of ovarian cancer should be rules out before excision of the cyst.
If you are having any of the above described symptoms, contact your doctor to rule out and diagnose the conditions at Vascular Interventions.