A home for your embryo
The endometrial lining, also known as the endometrium, lines the uterus and consists mainly of mucosal tissue. The outer layer of the endometrium is where the embryo implants. This layer changes with menstruation and pregnancy. During ovulation, hormone changes make the lining thicker to prepare for implantation. If implantation does not occur, the lining sheds, making up most of the menstrual flow. If conception does happen, the lining continues to be supplied with blood and nutrients.
It’s all about thickness
Endometrial lining thickness is an essential part of fertility. Even for women who are considered infertile and trying to conceive via in vitro fertilization (IVF), the lining must be the right thickness. Women with a healthy endometrial lining were 50% more likely to have a successful pregnancy with IVF or a frozen embryo transfer. In fact, thin endometrial linings could be the cause of miscarriages. A doctor checks the endometrium before IVF or for women having fertility problems. The ideal lining should be at least 8mm or more on an ultrasound.
Endometrium and fertility
A thin endometrium can indicate there is a fertility issue. There could be a hormone deficiency or insufficient blood flow to the uterus. Millions of women also suffer from uterine fibroids and cysts. These are abnormal growths or even infections that can damage the uterine lining. Thin linings must be addressed so that pregnancy, natural or assisted, can happen successfully.
These conditions can also affect pregnancy
Endometrial lining thickness is not the only concern for pregnancy. The endometrium can experience different abnormalities that can affect pregnancy and even health. Endometriosis is the most common condition. The lining overgrows, affecting the ovaries and even creating scar tissue. Endometriosis has been known to cause infertility. In some women, the lining can become very thick, creating a condition called endometrial hyperplasia. Endometrial hyperplasia can also cause fertility problems and even lead to endometrial cancer. A reproductive specialist will look for these conditions as well and provide some treatment options.
How can you help your endometrial lining?
A doctor cannot artificially increase a woman’s endometrium lining. Even embryo transfers and IVF are at the mercy of the endometrium. However, there are some steps to improve the thickness. One of the simplest methods is to increase blood flow through exercise, a healthy diet, and avoiding smoking. A doctor may also prescribe supplements or hormone medication to help increase estrogen levels. Higher estrogen levels may mean a healthier endometrium. Over time, women should see some improvement. If there is a physical condition like fibroids, surgery may be necessary.
Don’t downplay a healthy endometrial lining
The endometrial lining plays a vital role in pregnancy. This area is where the embryo begins, and a healthy endometrium helps with a full-term pregnancy. Unfortunately, many factors can impact the lining. The first step is to see a reproductive specialist for failed pregnancies or miscarriages. An ultrasound can determine if there are any conditions or a thin lining affecting pregnancy. From there, everyone can work together to improve fertility by improving the health of the lining.