Differences Between Uterine Fibroids & Uterine Polyps

Often times, uterine polyps and uterine fibroids are categorized as the same condition. However, these two reproductive health issues are very different in their nature and how they’re treated.

In order to understand the differences, we must first understand each condition.

What are Uterine Polyps?

During menstruation, the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) is shed and regenerates after the period cycle. Over time, roundish growths can begin to develop as the endometrium begins to grow back.  Uterine polyps are either pedunculated (attached to the uterine wall by a stalk) or sessile (attached by a large base). Typically, polyps grow to be a few millimeters to a few centimeters.

Pedunculated polyps are more common than sessile and can protrude from the uterus into the vagina. Women will typically only feel pain from uterine polyps when this happens. Other common symptoms include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Spotting between menstrual periods
  • Infertility
  • Bleeding after menopause

What are Uterine Fibroids?

Fibroids are also growths within the uterine wall, but are made up of muscle tissue. They typically grow within the muscle walls of the uterus and push outward toward the uterus. They tend to develop around a woman’s childbearing years, but can form at any time.

Fibroids can range in size from a few centimeters all the way up to the size of an orange. Many women who suffer from fibroids feel pelvic pain or pressure, but other common symptoms include:

  • Heavy, long-lasting periods
  • Frequent urination
  • Incontinence
  • Painful intercourse
  • Infertility

The Differences Between Uterine Polyps & Fibroids

Using the information above, here are several key differences between polyps and fibroids:

Uterine Polyps

Uterine Fibroids

Made of endometrium tissue

Made of muscle tissue

Grows within the endometrium tissue

Grows within the uterine wall

Grows to be a few centimeters maximum

Can grow to the size of an orange

Periods are usually irregular and spotty

Periods are usually heavy and long-lasting

Doesn’t usually cause pain

Pain can be chronic and severe

If you are suffering any symptoms listed above, make an appointment with a specialist. The board-certified OBGYNs at Brigham-Faulkner OB/GYN have extensive experience diagnosing and treating uterine polyps and fibroids. Call (617) 983-7003 to schedule an appointment at our office in Boston, MA today!