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What are the symptoms of uterine wall thickening?

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Quick Answer

The symptoms of uterine wall thickening, or endometrial hyperplasia, are menstrual periods that last longer or are heavier than usual, bleeding after menopause, and menstrual cycles that are shorter than 21 days, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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Full Answer

Sometimes, the thickening of the uterine wall is normal, explains the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. This happens during the first stages of the menstrual cycle, when estrogen causes the endometrium to thicken in preparation for a possible pregnancy. But if the pregnancy doesn't occur, the uterus sheds its lining. Menstruation occurs, and a new cycle begins.

Besides estrogen, a hormone called progesterone is necessary during the menstrual cycle, notes the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In endometrial hyperplasia, estrogen causes the uterine walls to thicken without progesterone, and the walls continue to grow.

Endometrial hyperplastia is not cancer, but it puts a woman at higher risk for uterine cancer, reports the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It usually happens to women who have already undergone menopause or are in perimenopause. In menopause, the woman no longer ovulates, but in perimenopause, the time just before menopause, she does.

Risk factors for endometrial hyperplasia include being older than 35, never having been pregnant, being younger than usual at menarche and older than usual at menopause, obesity and a family history of reproductive or colon cancer, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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