How are uterine polyps diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you about your menstrual history, including how long your periods last and how often you have them. You should mention any unusual symptoms that you are experiencing, such as excessive bleeding or spotting between periods. The doctor will also ask whether you have had any difficulty becoming pregnant.
The doctor will also perform a gynecological exam and may order additional tests or procedures. Ask your doctor if any treatments such as antibiotics, pain medications, or medication to ease dilation of the cervix are recommended before the procedure.
These tests may include the following:
- Transvaginal ultrasound: this is a procedure in which a slim handheld device called an ultrasound transducer is inserted in the vagina. The device emits sound waves, which provide an image of the interior of the uterus, including any irregularities that may be present.
- Sonohysterography: this is a related procedure that may be performed after the transvaginal ultrasound. A sterile fluid is introduced into the uterus through a thin tube called a catheter. The fluid causes the uterus to expand, providing a clearer image of any growths within the uterine cavity during the ultrasound procedure.
- Hysteroscopy: this may be used to either diagnose or treat uterine polyps. During this procedure, a doctor inserts a long, thin tube with a lighted telescope (hysteroscope) through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. The hysteroscope allows the physician to examine the inside of the uterus. Hysteroscopy is sometimes used in combination with surgery to remove the polyps. See image below.
- Endometrial biopsy: the doctor uses a soft plastic instrument to collect tissue from the inner walls of the uterus. The sample is sent to the laboratory for testing to determine if any abnormalities are present.
- Curettage: done in an operating room, this procedure can both diagnose and treat polyps. The doctor uses a long metal instrument called a curette to collect tissue from the inner walls of the uterus. The curette has a small loop on the end that allows the doctor to scrape tissue or polyps. The tissue or polyps that are removed may be sent to the laboratory for testing to determine if cancer cells are present.