Uterine polyps are small outgrowths of tissue attached to the internal lining of the cavity of the uterus. In women of fertile age the vast majority are completely benign (non-cancerous).
They may be spotted on ultrasound, x-ray (hysterosalpingogram, HSG) or hysteroscopic examinations. Most of them are very small (less than 2mm) and there has been some debate as to whether they cause a problem of infertility at all and whether their removal is justified. Recent research suggests that small uterine polyps do not interfere with conception but may cause a slight increase in the rate of early miscarriages.
If surgical removal has been recommended, this is usually done under vision during hysteroscopy, a procedure where a tubular scope is placed through the vagina into the uterus, usually with the patient under anaesthesia.
A cervical polyp is easily diagnosed on routine gynaecological examination. They are almost inevitably benign and usually have a stalk. They very rarely are the cause of infertility unless they completely block the cervical canal (the route to the uterus and tubes) and interfere with the passage of sperm. They may be a cause of irregular bleeding, especially following intercourse, or heavier bleeding during menstruation. Removal in these cases is indicated and easily performed as an outpatient procedure.