The signs of endometrial thickening include shorter-than-usual menstrual cycles or unusually heavy bleeding during menstrual cycles, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Bleeding that occurs after menopause may also indicate endometrial thickening.
Endometrial thickening, or endometrial hyperplasia, occurs when the body produces too much estrogen but not enough progesterone, explains the ACOG. During menstruation, instead of shedding the lining of the uterus, the body allows the uterus to continue to thicken.
Obesity, smoking, family history of cancer and age are risk factors for endometrial thickening, notes Everyday Health. Women with diabetes or thyroid disease, who are over the age of 35, or who go through menopause later than other women, may be more likely to experience endometrial thickening.
Common types of endometrial thickening include simple hyperplasia, complex hyperplasia, simplex atypical hyperplasia and complex atypical hyperplasia, explains Everyday Health. Women diagnosed with atypical hyperplasia have an increased risk of developing uterine cancer.
A transvaginal ultrasound can determine if endometrial thickening has occurred, states the ACOG. Additional tests, such as hysteroscopy and endometrial biopsy, detect the presence of cancerous cells. Progestin, given to women in the form of a vaginal cream, an injection, an oral medication or an intrauterine device, can treat endometrial thickening. Women experiencing irregular menstrual cycles may take birth control pills to regulate hormones. Women taking estrogen after menopause may have to take progesterone or progestin to prevent future endometrial thickening.