Although fibroids and polyps are very similar, they have several key differences. Most important are their location and outcomes. One of these two types of growths has the potential to later develop into a dangerous cancer condition.
Fibroids are noncancerous growths that usually appear on the uterine wall of women before they reach menopause. These usually don't cause any symptoms and almost never become cancerous.
Some fibroids bleed profusely during menstruation, which can lead to anemia and sometimes dangerously low blood pressure. Particularly large fibroids may block the path of an egg or sperm, which may complicate fertility.
Polyps are also noncancerous growths, but there are two main differences between them and fibroids. First, they can grow in different parts of the body, such as the colon and the nasal cavity. Second, although fibroids usually don't cause cancer, colon polyps regularly grow out of control to become colon cancer.
Like fibroids, most polyps don't cause any problems until they grow abnormally large or become cancerous. Larger polyps can block a passageway or cavity, and cancer cells from colon polyps can spread to other parts of the body.
Because they don't usually cause any symptoms, fibroids are most often found during routine pelvic examinations. Polyps can easily be detected during an imaging screen such as an ultrasound or a colonoscopy.