Causes Of Uterine Polyps
Effects Of Estrogen On The Uterus

types of polyps

xenoestrogens in nail varnishXenoestrogens which mimic the effect of estrogen are found in nail varnish and varnish removers.

Causes Of Uterine Polyps


Excessive Estrogen
Chronic Inflammation
High Blood Pressure

Topic Overview

Uterine Polyps
What Causes Uterine Polyps?

In a nutshell, we don't know. However, there are number of theories:

Excessive Estrogen

Uterine polyps are rarely diagnosed before menarche and there is a higher occurrence in women who take the breast cancer drug tamoxifen and in those who are obese. This suggests that excess levels (or an abnormal reaction to) female hormone estrogen may over-stimulate the wall of the uterus and play an important role in the formation of polyps. What we do know for sure is that polyps increase in size when exposed to estrogen.

Menarche: Menstrual periods start and estrogen levels rise.
Tamoxifen: Women who take this medication (designed to interfere with estrogen levels in the body) have a 30 to 60 percent risk of developing polyps (both uterine and cervical polyps).
Obesity: Body fat cells produce estrogen, the more fat, the higher the levels of estrogen in the body. Obesity is considered having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.

Other conditions associated with excess estrogen (also called estrogen dominance) include:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
Breast fibroids.
Uterine fibroids.
Breast cancer.

Common signs of excess estrogen in your body:

• Dry skin.
• Vaginal dryness (atrophy).
• Low libido.
• Bloating and water retention.
• Frequent mood swings.
• Night sweats.
• Insomnia or difficulties sleeping.
• Easily irritated.
Painful periods (dysmenorrhea).
• Difficulties losing weight.
• Fatigue.
• Migraines that come and go with your menstrual cycle.
• Infertility.
• Miscarriage.
Thyroid problems.
• Check the symptoms of uterine polyps.

Common causes of estrogen excess:

Low levels of the hormone progesterone (which helps keep estrogen in check).
Exposure to xenoestrogens, these are man-made chemicals that mimic the effect of natural estrogen in the body. Xenoestrogens can be found in chemical fertilizers and life stock feed - this is one important reason to choose organic fruit, vegetables and meat where possible. They are also found in makeup (lipsticks, nail varnishes, perfumes, soaps), plastic containers and many other products.
Exposure to phytoestrogen - unlike xenoestrogens, phytoestrogens are naturally occurring compounds that have a weak estrogen effect. They are found in soy products, red wine and certain fruits and vegetables. Phytoestrogen is not necessarily 'bad', it is for example found in lots of high fiber foods and one function of fiber is to bind to waste estrogen in the body and remove it. If you are worried about your estrogen levels, it may be advisable to stay away from soy products. Also, avoid phytoestrogen supplements, they contain concentrated levels and are sometimes prescribed to women with symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes or night sweats.
Hormone replacement therapy can increase levels of estrogen.
Hormone contraceptives. However the use of progesterone-only contraceptives such as the IUD device (Mirena), birth control implants (Implanon) or birth control injections(Depo Provera) or the combined oral contraceptive pill may reduce the risk of polyps.
Additional Information: Read about the causes of cervical polyps, specifically the estrogen connection.


The incidence rate of endometrial polyps increases with age - they predominately occur in perimenopausal women between the ages of 40 and 50 when hormone levels fluctuate severely. After menopause (when periods have stopped for 12 consecutive months), the incidence rate starts to lower again. Read about the effects of menopause on the body. Again, this points to a relationship between hormones and polyp development.

Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is our immune system's response to injury or infection. The affected site becomes red and swollen indicating the body is healing or fighting the source of infection. Chronic inflammation is more insidious because we don't know we have it. It means that internal tissues in our body are in a permanent state of inflammation because the immune system loses its ability to know when to shut down. This slowly damages our organs and has been linked to many major diseases including cancer, heart disease, interstitial cystitis, IBS and chronic fatigue syndrome. Uterine polyps may be a response to irritation or inflammation of the wall of the uterus - although - some studies have now shown shown that most polyps and surrounding tissue are free of evidence of infection and inflammation. This would indicate inflammation is not a significant cause - although the jury is still out. Chronic inflammation seems to present a stronger case for causing cervical polyps.

High Blood Pressure

It is considered that high blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the risk factors for cervical polyps. However, a 2008 study published in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology did not find an association between uterine polyps and blood pressure levels.

  Related Articles on Polyps

For more articles, see the following:

Treatment of Uterine Polyps: Surgical and natural alternatives.

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