Thin Uterine Lining

Definition - What does Thin Uterine Lining mean?

Thin uterine lining refers to a lack of growth or thickness in the endometrium, the outermost layer of the uterus. The uterine lining is the site of embryo implantation, and is required for conception to occur. An ideal uterine lining is between 8-13 mm thick at the time of fertilization. Lining thinner then 6 mm may be considered problematic to conception.

Without a healthy, adequate uterine lining, it would be difficult for a woman to become pregnant or maintain a pregnancy.

FertilitySmarts explains Thin Uterine Lining

With every menstrual cycle, a woman’s body produces a thick layer of blood and tissue in the uterus, also called the endometrium. This layer is created in preparation for a conception. When ovulation occurs, an egg is released from the ovaries in search of sperm.

If fertilization does not occur, the uterine lining is released, causing the monthly menstrual period. However, if sperm is present and the egg is fertilized, the resulting embryo implants into the lining of the uterus. The embryo depends on the uterine layer for nourishment and protection during the early weeks of pregnancy.

It would be difficult for an embryo to implant or survive if the uterine lining is not adequately thick and healthy. As a result, the condition is known to cause implantation failure, IVF failure, recurrent miscarriages and infertility.

Thin uterine layer can be caused by a variety of complications:

  • Low estrogen
  • Inadequate blood flow, caused by:
    • Uterine polyps
    • Uterine fibroids
    • Intrauterine adhesions
    • Congenital uterine malformations, such a bicornate or unicornate uterus
    • Luteal phase defect
    • Pituitary gland tumors
    • Endometrial cancer
  • Health conditions impacting endometrial health
    • Infections and pelvic inflammatory disease
    • Repeated dilation and curettage
    • Damage and scarring in the uterus
  • Medication, including long-term use of clomid or birth control pills

The most noticeable symptom of a thin uterine lining is infertility. However, some women may experience amenorrhea (no menstrual period), indicating potential health concerns.

Once infertility has been determined, the uterine lining may be subject to testing to determine its contribution to the problem. Diagnosis depends on the cause, but may involve a series of exams and tests, including a pelvic exam, blood test, a transvaginal ultrasound, a hysteroscopy, and a uterine biopsy.

Treatment is based on the diagnosed cause, and may involve hormone therapy, reparative surgery, or lifestyle changes.

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