Journal of Mid-life Health Journal of Mid-life Health
Home | About us | Editorial board | Search | Ahead of print | Current Issue | Past Issues | Instructions | Online submission | Subscribe | Advertise Users Online: 91  Print this pageEmail this pageSmall font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size 

 Table of Contents 
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 212-215  

Giant endometrial polyp: An enigma in a postmenopausal woman

Department of Pathology, Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College, Karnal, Haryana, India

Date of Web Publication31-Dec-2018

Correspondence Address:
Sonam Sharma
Department of Pathology, Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College, Karnal, Haryana
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmh.JMH_82_18

Rights and Permissions

Giant polyp is an unusual female genital tract pathology, commonly arising from the cervix than the endometrium. It is a great masquerader of cervical or endometrial malignancy and can lead to a diagnostic dilemma and unnecessary aggressive interventions. Experience in one such case of an extremely rare protruding giant endometrial polyp in a 58-year-old postmenopausal female is being described herewith so as to create awareness among the dealing clinicians. The approach to such a case, differential diagnosis, and review of the literature is also presented.

Keywords: Estrogen, hysteroscopic polypectomy, large endometrial polyp, postmenopausal bleeding, vaginal mass

How to cite this article:
Sharma S. Giant endometrial polyp: An enigma in a postmenopausal woman. J Mid-life Health 2018;9:212-5

How to cite this URL:
Sharma S. Giant endometrial polyp: An enigma in a postmenopausal woman. J Mid-life Health [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 Jul 5];9:212-5. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Postmenopausal bleeding (PMB) accounts for 5% of the gynecological visits and it is usually seen in up to 10% of women aged over 55 years.[1],[2] This abnormal genital bleeding arises from both the intrauterine as well as extrauterine sources. The most common cause attributed to it is the atrophy of vagina or endometrium owing to the postmenopausal hypoestrogenism.[3] Nevertheless, several other conditions such as endometrial hyperplasia, cervical/endometrial polyps, submucosal fibroids, tumors of endometrium/cervix/ovaries, bleeding from non-gynecological sites, such as the urethra, bladder, anus/rectum/bowel, or perineum have also been implicated as its important etiologies.[2] Among the polyps, the uterine or endometrial polyps are benign masses of the endometrium that bulge into the uterine lumen. They can be single or multiple and can appear as pedunculated or sessile.[4] In rare instances, especially the pedunculated ones can protrude through the cervix into the vagina.[5],[6] Their size ranges from a few millimeters to several centimeters. Most of them are usually <2 cm in diameter, however, polyps can occasionally attain a size of >4 cm and then they are designated as giant polyps.[7] Most of the giant endometrial polyps reported in the literature are mainly associated with postmenopausal tamoxifen or raloxifene treatment,[8],[9],[10],[11],[12] reflecting that they are affected by the hormone levels and grow in response to the circulating estrogen. These rare giant endometrial polyps are clinically important as they may cause concern to both the patient and the dealing clinician for the suspicion of a malignancy, especially because of their size and associated clinical symptoms leading to unnecessary diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. Herein is described an extremely rare case of a giant endometrial polyp which protruded out of the external cervical os into the vagina of a postmenopausal woman leading to a diagnostic conundrum.

   Case Report Top

A 58-year-old female, G5 L5, presented to the gynecological outpatient department with lower abdominal pain and bleeding per vaginum since the past 20 days. She gave a history of intermittent PMB of 2 years duration, and recently in the past 6 months, she noticed a mass protruding from the vagina on micturition and defecation. However, until now, she never approached any gynecologist for these complaints. She had five full-term normal vaginal deliveries and had attained menopause 9 years back. She denied any use of drugs especially hormone derivatives, recent intercourse, or vaginal trauma. Her medical history for any major disease or prior surgeries as well as family history of any cancer (breast/uterine/colon/ovarian) was non-contributory. On general physical examination, she was anemic and overweight (body mass index-28.6 kg/m2). Per abdomen examination revealed mild tenderness in the lower abdomen with no evidence of ascites or any organomegaly. Per speculum examination showed a hemorrhagic mass which was protruding through the external cervical os into the vagina. The mass was friable and bled on touch. Bimanual pelvic examination revealed anteverted multiparous sized uterus with free bilateral fornices and without palpable adnexal masses. On per rectal examination, the rectal mucosa was free. All other systemic examinations were within normal limits. Her routine hematological investigations revealed microcytic hypochromic blood picture. Urine and blood cultures were negative. Kidney and liver function tests were normal. Cholesterol levels were slightly towards the higher side. Serum antibodies to the human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B surface antigen, syphilis were negative. X-ray chest was normal. Transvaginal sonography (TVS) showed heterogeneous irregular endometrium of 20.4 mm thickness. Based on the history, clinical and radiological findings, an endometrial or a cervical malignancy was suspected. An examination under anaesthesia and hysteroscopy was performed. Hysteroscopic examination revealed hyperplastic endometrium with an actively bleeding large polyp which was arising from the posterior uterine wall and extended through the external cervical os into the vagina. Polypectomy was done with the help of hysteroscopic scissors and forceps. Following the complete removal of polyp, dilation, and fractional curettage was done. The obtained tissues were sent in separate containers for histopathological evaluation. Gross examination of the specimen from the container labeled polyp showed a pedunculated polypoidal smooth gray-brown soft-tissue piece which measured 5 cm × 4 cm × 1 cm in size [Figure 1]a. On cut section, multiple variable sized cystic spaces with solid areas and hemorrhage were identified [Figure 1]b. On microscopy, numerous endometrial glands lined by a single layer of flattened epithelium embedded in the fibrous stroma were seen. Some of the glands were cystically dilated. No nuclear atypia, mitosis or dysplasia was observed in the glandular epithelium. The stroma exhibited many dilated and thick-walled blood vessels, spindled fibroblast-like cells, and extracellular connective tissue [Figure 2]. Fractional curettage specimen in the other container received on microscopic examination revealed an inactive endometrium with no hyperplasia or atypia and normal cervical tissue. On the basis of these histopathological findings, a final diagnosis of a giant endometrial polyp was made. The postoperative period of the patient was uneventful. She was advised hysterectomy, but she refused to undergo the procedure. On follow-up after 2 weeks, her symptoms completely resolved and there were no fresh complaints.
Figure 1: (a) The giant endometrial polyp with a stalk. (b) Multiple solid cystic areas on cut section

Click here to view
Figure 2: Histopathological section showing cystic endometrial glands embedded in fibrous stroma with the characteristic dilated thick walled blood vessels interspersed between the glandular structures (H and E, ×200)

Click here to view

   Discussion Top

Endometrial polyps are composed of endometrial glands (normal/cystic/hyperplastic), an increased amount of fibrous tissue, and can contain smooth muscle.[4] According to their response to ovarian hormones, they are divided into three types which are mature functioning polyps, immature non-functioning polyps, and non-functioning adenomyomatous polyps.[7] These polyps can occur at any age, but most frequently they are seen in women around menopause.[13] Patients may either be asymptomatic or can present with abnormal bleeding patterns (intermenstrual bleeding, menorrhagia, or PMB) and infertility.[4] Its prevalence ranges from 10% to 24% in women presenting with dysfunctional uterine bleeding[14] while it occurs in 24.3% of PMB cases.[5] The exact pathogenesis of endometrial polyps still remains unclear. Researchers have documented its causative link to aging, bcl-2 expression, obesity, tamoxifen therapy, hypertension, unbalanced estrogen receptors and progestins, unopposed estrogen therapy, and estrogen-like effect.[13],[15] However, many molecular mechanisms have also been proposed to play a crucial role in its development. These include endometrial aromatase overexpression, inhibition of apoptosis, gene mutations, and cellular mechanisms linked with inflammation.[16],[17],[18]

Giant endometrial polyps, as seen in the present case study, are exceedingly rare variants of classical polyps. According to the pertinent world literature, there are <15 cases of giant endometrial polyps which have been reported so far[5],[6],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[19],[20],[21],[23],[23] and a very small number have been documented from India.[20],[21] On reviewing the handful of cases mentioned till date, various clinicopathological features of this rare entity draws the attention. These giant endometrial polyps are mainly seen in Turkish origin postmenopausal women with associated conditions such as obesity, heart ailments, and diabetes mellitus. The most common presenting symptom is vaginal bleeding and only a few of them presented with an introital mass.[5],[6],[9],[21],[22],[23] The polyp size varied from 4.5–12 cm in its greatest dimension. Maximum of the cases developed with the use of selective estrogen receptor modulators such as tamoxifen or raloxifene or a phytoestrogen (thyme).[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[19] Nevertheless, few asymptomatic cases without any drug/hormone use or vaginal bleeding have also been documented.[19],[20],[21],[22] TVS has been the first line of investigation in most of the cases. The patients have been managed equally by both the hysteroscopic polypectomy and total abdominal hysterectomy with or without bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. The histopathological examination of the resected specimens was performed in all the cases which revealed no hyperplasia, atypia or malignancy in maximum cases.

In the current patient, the polyp developed spontaneously in an overweight female and presented as PMB with a mass which was protruding out of the cervix into the vagina. The TVS revealed a 20.4 mm thick endometrium. All these clinico-radiological findings lead to a suspicion of malignancy and warranted further evaluation of the patient. In the literature, most of the cases of giant polyps protruding out of the external cervical os are endocervical in origin as polyps which arise from the endometrium are usually contained within the uterine cavity. Rarely, like in the present case, the giant endometrial polyp can protrude through the external cervical os. In such a situation, the main differential diagnosis of the protruding polyps from the external cervical os is the malignancies such as cervical squamous cell carcinoma, cervical embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, mullerian adenosarcoma, endocervical or endometrial adenosarcoma, and cervical lymphoma.[5] Nevertheless, 10%–25% of the symptomatic giant endometrial polyps may contain hyperplastic foci while the risk of its malignant transformation has been observed in about 0%–12.9% cases.[14],[24] Several factors have been linked to malignancy arising within the polyp such as advanced age, menopausal status, obesity, diabetes, arterial hypertension, use of tamoxifen, and large size of the polyp.[16],[17],[25],[26]

Therefore, the basis for removing these protruding polyps followed by histopathological examination is not only for symptomatic relief of the patient, suspicion of malignancy but it is also for assessing the polyps own malignant potential. Hysteroscopic polypectomy remains the mainstay for the operative management and histopathological evaluation of giant endometrial polyps because of the minimal morbidity associated with it as compared to a hysterectomy. The blind curettage is unsuccessful in many cases in terms of incomplete removal of the polyp, therefore, it should not be used as a diagnostic or therapeutic intervention.[17]

   Conclusion Top

Giant endometrial polyp is a rare entity which should be kept in mind while dealing with PMB cases having a vaginal mass irrespective of any hormonal therapy as they can develop spontaneously and can mimic as an endometrial or a cervical malignancy. The assessment of such patients should include a detailed history, complete abdominal/pelvic and speculum examinations along with identification of its risk factors. Hysteroscopy is quite beneficial in the differential diagnosis, but the histopathological examination is mandatory for its definitive diagnosis. However, more insight and exploration is required of the factors involved in its pathogenesis and for determining its oncogenic potential in near future.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Moodley M, Roberts C. Clinical pathway for the evaluation of postmenopausal bleeding with an emphasis on endometrial cancer detection. J Obstet Gynaecol 2004;24:736-41.  Back to cited text no. 1
Newell S, Overton C. Postmenopausal bleeding should be referred urgently. Practitioner 2012;256:13-5, 2.  Back to cited text no. 2
Smith PP, O'Connor S, Gupta J, Clark TJ. Recurrent postmenopausal bleeding: A prospective cohort study. J Minim Invasive Gynecol 2014;21:799-803.  Back to cited text no. 3
Bennett MW, Dick EJ Jr., Schlabritz-Loutsevitch NE, Lopez-Alvarenga JC, Williams PC, Sharp RM, et al. Endometrial and cervical polyps in 22 baboons (Papio sp.), 5 cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) and one marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). J Med Primatol 2009;38:257-62.  Back to cited text no. 4
Çil AS, Bozkurt M, Kara D, Guler B. Giant endometrial polyp protruding from the external cervical os in a postmenopausal woman: magnetic resonance imaging and hysteroscopic findings. Proc Obstet Gynecol 2013;3:2.  Back to cited text no. 5
Narin R, Nazik H, Aytan H, Api M, Toyganözü H, Adamhasan F. A giant endometrial polyp in a postmenopausal woman. J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2013;35:105.  Back to cited text no. 6
Peterson WF, Novak ER. Endometrial polyps. Obstet Gynecol 1956;8:40-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
Kutuk MS, Goksedef BP. A postmenopausal woman developed a giant endometrial polyp during raloxifene treatment. J Obstet Gynaecol 2011;31:672.  Back to cited text no. 8
Erdemoglu E, Güney M, Keskin B, Mungan T. Tamoxifen and giant endometrial polyp. Eur J Gynaecol Oncol 2008;29:198-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
Caschetto S, Cassaro N, Consalvo P, Caragliano L. Tamoxifen and giant endometrial polyps. Minerva Ginecol 2000;52:459-63.  Back to cited text no. 10
Nomikos IN, Elemenoglou J, Papatheophanis J. Tamoxifen-induced endometrial polyp. A case report and review of the literature. Eur J Gynaecol Oncol 1998;19:476-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
Moon SH, Lee SE, Jung IK, Jeong JE, Park WY, Yi WH, et al. A giant endometrial polyp with tamoxifen therapy in postmenopausal woman. Korean J Obstet Gynecol 2011;54:836-40.  Back to cited text no. 12
Reslová T, Tosner J, Resl M, Kugler R, Vávrová I. Endometrial polyps. A clinical study of 245 cases. Arch Gynecol Obstet 1999;262:133-9.  Back to cited text no. 13
Lee SC, Kaunitz AM, Sanchez-Ramos L, Rhatigan RM. The oncogenic potential of endometrial polyps: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol 2010;116:1197-205.  Back to cited text no. 14
Indraccolo U, Di Iorio R, Matteo M, Corona G, Greco P, Indraccolo SR, et al. The pathogenesis of endometrial polyps: A systematic semi-quantitative review. Eur J Gynaecol Oncol 2013;34:5-22.  Back to cited text no. 15
Wang JH, Zhao J, Lin J. Opportunities and risk factors for premalignant and malignant transformation of endometrial polyps: Management strategies. J Minim Invasive Gynecol 2010;17:53-8.  Back to cited text no. 16
Papadia A, Gerbaldo D, Fulcheri E, Ragni N, Menoni S, Zanardi S, et al. The risk of premalignant and malignant pathology in endometrial polyps: Should every polyp be resected? Minerva Ginecol 2007;59:117-24.  Back to cited text no. 17
Dal Cin P, Timmerman D, Van den Berghe I, Wanschura S, Kazmierczak B, Vergote I, et al. Genomic changes in endometrial polyps associated with tamoxifen show no evidence for its action as an external carcinogen. Cancer Res 1998;58:2278-81.  Back to cited text no. 18
Unal B, Doğan S, Karaveli FŞ, Simşek T, Erdoğan G, Candaner I, et al. Giant endometrial polyp in a postmenopausal woman without hormone/Drug use and vaginal bleeding. Case Rep Obstet Gynecol 2014;2014:518398.  Back to cited text no. 19
Kulhan M, Kulhan NG, Nayki UA, Nayki C, Ulug P. Giant endometrial polyp in a postmenopausal woman without any complaints: A case report. J Cases Obstet Gynecol 2017;4:55-8.  Back to cited text no. 20
Meena J, Manchanda R, Kulkarni S, Bhargava N, Mahawar P. Story of a giant endometrial polyp in asymptomatic postmenopausal female. J Clin Diagn Res 2017;11:QD06-7.  Back to cited text no. 21
Tyagi S, Manchanda R, Kulkarni S, Samadi F. Giant endometrial polyps – A case series. Int J Curr Adv Res 2017;6:4185-9.  Back to cited text no. 22
van Staalduinen B, Stahler A, Abied C, Shats R, Lakhi NA. Oncogenic potential and clinical implications of giant endometrial polyps: A case report and literature review. Case Rep Obstet Gynecol 2018;2018:8753463.  Back to cited text no. 23
Farrell R, Scurry J, Otton G, Hacker NF. Clinicopathologic review of malignant polyps in stage 1A carcinoma of the endometrium. Gynecol Oncol 2005;98:254-62.  Back to cited text no. 24
Lasmar BP, Lasmar RB. Endometrial polyp size and polyp hyperplasia. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 2013;123:236-9.  Back to cited text no. 25
Ferrazzi E, Zupi E, Leone FP, Savelli L, Omodei U, Moscarini M. How often are endometrial polyps malignant in asymptomatic postmenopausal women? A multicenter study. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2009;200:235.e1-6.  Back to cited text no. 26


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
   Case Report
    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded165    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal