Learn about fibroids, cysts and polyps in the reproductive system, including the signs you might have them and possible treatment options.
What are Fibroids, Cysts and Polyps?
Fibroids, cysts and polyps are the three most common growths that can appear in the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Each is different in the way it appears and the effects it can have.
- Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors. They grow in the walls of the uterus and come from the uterus’ own cells. Fibroids affect 30-50% of women but many will never experience any symptoms
- Cysts are sac-like pockets of tissue. They can occur anywhere in the body. Ovarian cysts, which affect the ovaries, can take a number of forms, ranging from simple, which tends to cause minimal issues and disappear on its own, to endometrioma, which are from the cells in the womb. These relate to endometriosis
- Polyps grow in the lining of the uterus. The majority of them are not cancerous, but they do not usually go away without treatment.
What are the Signs or Symptoms Fibroids, Cysts or Polyps Might Present?
While many people may not experience any symptoms at all, the most common symptom for any growth in the uterus or ovaries is irregular periods.
Other symptoms can include:
- Pain or bloating in the abdominal area
- Unexpected bleeding or spotting, such as outside your usual period time, or after menopause
- Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding
- Pain when using the toilet
- Pain when having sex
- Nausea and vomiting
If left untreated, some growths can cause issues with fertility, or can become cancerous. Listen to your body and speak to your doctor if you have any concerns, especially if cysts, fibroids or polyps run in your family.
To diagnose a growth, your doctor might:
- Discuss your symptoms with you
- Conduct or recommend an ultrasound
- Order an MRI, hysteroscopy or laparoscopy
Treatment Options for Fibroids, Cysts and Polyps
Depending on the severity of your symptoms and volume of the growths, your doctor will recommend the appropriate treatment.
For lower-volume or severity cases, your doctor may recommend conservative treatment, which involves keeping an eye on the growths but not taking any immediate action. They might also prescribe painkillers or hormonal treatments such as progesterone.
Other treatment options can include:
- Combined hormonal contraceptives (or The Pill), which suppression the formation of ovarian cysts
- Uterine artery embolisation, which involves injecting small particles into the arteries in the uterus so fibroid cells are starved and die
- MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS), where a beam of ultrasound energy is directed at the fibroid, destroying its core and shrinking it
- Hysteroscopic resection, where the growth is removed using a hysteroscope
- Cystectomy, where the cyst is removed
- Oophorectomy, where one ovary is removed and the other is left intact
- Myomectomy, where the uterus is cut to completely remove the growth
- Hysterectomy, which is the removal of the entire uterus. This is only necessary in a very small number of cases
Gynaecologists at Frances Perry House
Frances Perry House is home to a range of experienced and highly reputable Gynaecologists with experience in a range of women's health issues including fibroids, cysts and polyps.
To book a consultation with a Gynaecologist at Frances Perry house, please request a referral from your GP. You can choose a specialist using our specialist search tool.