Understanding the magnitude of the functions of various body organs is not an overnight task. There are numerous complicated processes that go inside the body and most of the times we are unaware of what exactly is happening until and unless a warning sign gets signaled. thickened endometrium is one such complexly which shouldn’t be ignored.
Meaning of endometrium:
To put it simply, what you shed during your periods is the endometrial lining. The tissue lining in the inner cavity of the uterus, which is soft and spongy is called endometrium. It thickens during the early days in the cycle when estrogen is secreted by the ovaries. During the middle of the cycle, progesterone is secreted which helps in preparing the innermost layer of the endometrium for supporting embryo in case conception occurs. If conception doesn’t occur, this layer sheds off, and thus you get your menses.
Now the problem arises in case this lining becomes thick. Thickened endometrium means thickness in the lining of the uterus,which is not normal. Also called endometrial hyperplasia, this problem becomes grave if the thickness of the lining becomes more than 5mm in size during normal days. It is a result of excess estrogen without progesterone. The extent of the thickened uterine lining can be seen during an ultrasound test. Thus thickening of the uterine wall above the following limits should be dealt with seriously:
During menses: 2 to 4 mm
Early proliferative phase: 5 to 7 mm
Late proliferative phase: not more than 11 mm
Secretory phase: Not more than 16 mm
Thickened Endometrium symptoms are:
- Painful periods
- Heavy bleeding during menses
- Variation in the cycle which can either be less than 24 days or more than 38 days
- Difficult to conceive
- Bleeding in between the menses
Reasons for Thickened Endometrium:
Thickened endometrium causes can be:
- Polyps: Tissue abnormalities found in the uterus, which, if become malign can cause thickening of the uterine wall.
- Fibroids: In case these get attached to the uterine wall, it will automatically get thick.
- Using tamoxifen: This drug is used in the treatment of breast cancer, and the most common side effect is that it might cause endometrial lining to thicken or can cause early menopause.
Thickened endometrium might result in cancer because all sorts of uterine cancers originate in the endometrial cells. If you experience unusual bleeding after menopause, heavy or frequent bleeding or pain in the abdomen or pelvic region, talk to your doctor immediately.
Thickened Endometrium Treatment:
The treatment depends on the family history of cancer, future pregnancy plans, whether you have reached menopause or not and whether atypical cells have been found or not.
- Progestin is the most common treatment used to treat endometrial hyperplasia. Progestin can be given in the form of pills, shot, intrauterine device, or vaginal cream.
- If you have decided not to get pregnant in the future, your doctor might conduct hysterectomy and remove the uterus.
Thickening of the uterine wall can be treated with medicines and generally doesn’t involve many complications until and unless it is cancerous. Talking to the doctor is always beneficial.