Abnormal Thickening Of The Uterus Lining: Its Causes And Treatment

Thickening of the uterus lining is a normal phenomenon for every woman in her premenopausal age. The inner wall of uterus is medically called endometrium. For a young woman in her menstrual age, the inner wall of uterus gradually becomes thick every month to facilitate easy embedment of the fertilized egg.

However, if the ovum (egg) does not get fertilized by the male sperm, the lining is shed resulting in bleeding from the uterus. This process is called menstruation. The whole physiological cycle is repeated every month.

The entire menstrual process is controlled by the hormone estrogen and progesterone. Rising estrogen level is seen in the first fifteen to seventeen days of the menstrual cycle, when the egg is released and if not fertilized, the estrogen level gradually diminishes and another hormone called progesterone becomes active. An imbalance between this hormones, or if there is excess secretion of estrogen can lead to an abnormal thickening of the inner uterine wall (endometrium).

Since the condition is related to hormonal changes, abnormal thickening is often observed in women who have reached their menopause or are nearing menopausal age. Thickening of uterus in most cases is benign.

However, in a postmenopausal woman, it needs to be investigated further to rule out endometrial cancer (cancer of uterine wall).

Causes Of Abnormal Thickening Of The Lining Of Uterus

Thickening of uterine wall is also known as endometrial hyperplasia.

  • The condition is often observed in women who are nearing their menopause of have reached menopause. This is because most of the time, changes or imbalance of estrogen and progesterone hormones occurs during this period.
  • If the woman is taking estrogen replacement therapy without proper balancing it with progesterone hormone, may give rise to unchecked growth of cells in the inner lining of the uterus.
  • An obese woman is at a greater risk of developing abnormal thickening of uterus lining. This is because estrogen is secreted in excess in an obese woman.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome is also a predisposing cause for thickened uterine wall.
  • The uterine wall also becomes thick during pregnancy and it is normal.

 Treatment For Thickening Of The Uterus

  • The treatment of thickened uterus lining may depend on several factors such as the age of a woman, the severity of the symptoms and the risk of developing endometrial cancer.
  • Thickening of uterus lining by itself is not cancerous; however the risk of it being in precancerous or cancerous stage is high. It is for this reason a woman who is suffering from abnormal thickening of uterus lining should be treated and monitored regularly. Particularly if the woman is her premenopausal or post menopause age.
  • If the woman is in her childbearing age, in most cases the treatment of choice is with medications. This may include hormone releasing contraceptives such as birth control patch, birth control pills or insertion of intrauterine device.
  • Women in their Peri-menopause and menopausal age may feel better with a course of hormone replacement therapy, which consists of progesterone hormone. However, a long course of this therapy may not be advisable as it may trigger the risk of breast cancer and cardiac ailments. It should always be discussed with the treating doctor before initiating HRT.
  • When the medical treatment fails, and if there is a high risk of endometrial cancer, hysterectomy should be always preferred option. Hysterectomy is surgical removal of uterus.

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