Polyps are growths from the inner wall of the uterus into the uterine cavity. Polyps can be benign (non-cancerous), pre-cancerous or cancerous. They are more common in women who are peri-menopausal or menopausal, but can happen in younger women as well.
What causes a uterine polyp?
There are two factors that influence the growth of polyps:
What are the symptoms of a uterine polyp?
If you have a uterine polyp, you may notice abnormal uterine bleeding such as bleeding between periods, particularly heavy periods, frequent periods, or have problems with infertility.
How is a uterine polyp diagnosed?
Uterine polyps are usually detected via a pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound.
What is the treatment for polyps?
Medical doctors would recommend surgical removal of polyps in most instances because of the risk that if they are not currently cancerous, they can become cancerous.
What is the naturopathic treatment for a uterine polyp?
- Address the root cause, which may be referred to as estrogen dominance.
- Inflammation – there are a number of factors that can provoke, aggravate or create inflammation in the body:
- Food sensitivities – low grade food allergies to foods can contribute to inflammation in your body. This inflammation can be widespread and is not limited to your digestive tract (although it can show up as digestive problems).
- Insulin – when you eat foods that increase your blood sugar level, insulin needs to be made to bring the blood sugar down. Insulin promotes inflammation.
- Poor diet – certain foods, aside from food sensitivities, are pro-inflammatory, while others are anti-inflammatory. For example, trans fats are more inflammatory while fish oils are anti-inflammatory.
- Estrogen – for women, estrogen is necessary to develop healthy eggs every month. However, excess estrogen or estrogen that is not well balanced by other hormones like progesterone, can cause problems like polyps. How does this happen?
- Excess estrogen. Once your body has sufficient estrogen, the liver needs to process and break down the extra estrogen for excretion. What ingredients are needed for this process? Vitamin B6, vitamin B12, 5MTHF, indole-3-carbinol, sulfur, and glucaric acid (glucarate). If your body is missing one or more of these ingredients, estrogen may get partially broken down, but isn’t excreted. Will a blood test for estrogen show this? No. Blood tests don’t assess the multiple forms of estrogen and estrogen breakdown intermediates.
- Excess estrogen. Excessive estrogen production or activity. Insulin can drive increased production of insulin and lower levels of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG). SHBG helps lower estrogen activity, so lowering SHBG increases estrogen activity.
- Lack of hormones that should be balancing estrogen. Progesterone, testosterone, DHEAs and Androstenedione, can all balance estrogen by competing with it for receptor sites. Low levels of these hormones can happen because of excessive stress, high levels of estrogen can suppress their production and lack of certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6 can negatively affect their production.
Should you treat a uterine polyp?
Yes, because of the risk that they can be or may become cancerous. Even if surgically removed, the underlying cause of the polyps still remains. Naturopathic treatment to address the cause will help prevent future polyp growth.