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What is endometrial thickening?

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Quick Answer

Endometrial thickening, medically referred to as endometrial hyperplasia, occurs when a woman's uterine lining accumulates an abnormal mass of cells during her menstrual cycle, explains Healthgrades. This is most often caused by a hormonal imbalance accompanying menopause but can also occur as a result of polycystic ovarian syndrome or obesity.

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Endometrial hyperplasia signifies a disproportion between a woman's estrogen and progesterone levels, according to Healthgrades. Progesterone works to maintain an acceptable rate of cellular development within a woman's uterine lining, and if a woman becomes estrogen-dominant or her progesterone levels drop for any reason, she may experience endometrial hyperplasia. The most common treatments for the condition are temporary hormone replacement therapy for older women or birth control for younger women who are still menstruating, explains Healthgrades.

Endometrial hyperplasia rarely signifies a medical emergency, but women with the condition may develop anemia due to increased blood loss each month. In severe cases, it may be necessary for a woman with this condition to undergo a full hysterectomy, especially if the diagnosis is linked to uterine cancer. Women who experience abnormal menstrual bleeding, fatigue, vaginal tenderness, acne, spotting between periods, unusual hair growth or painful intercourse are advised to see a doctor to discuss symptoms and run appropriate medical testing to reach a diagnosis. Healthgrades urges women who experience rapid heart rates, abdominal pain or fainting to seek emergency medical care.

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