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For a female body to conceive and sustain a pregnancy, a number of things need to fall into place. Fertilization is just the tip of the iceberg – there are a ton of processes that take place in your uterus that ensure the egg stays secure. One of the key aspects in that regard is the endometrium and the thickness of its wall. In this article, we shall discuss what an endometrium is and all the aspects regarding its thickness which are essential to help women conceive successfully.
What is an Endometrium?
The uterus has a lining made of mucous membranes on the inner side of its wall. This lining is called the endometrium. The endometrium has two layers – one is the functional layer that sheds itself during each menstrual cycle, and the other layer is the base that remains on the wall of the uterus permanently. It characteristically thickens in size every month throughout the fertile years of every woman. When it thickens, it serves as a nutrient-rich medium for the embryo to plant itself into Let’s find out a little more about its thickness in the next section.
What is the Normal Endometrial Thickness for Pregnancy to Occur?
The endometrial layer in itself is pretty thin. Towards the end of each menstrual cycle, when the upper layer has shed completely, the layer that remains is barely about 1 mm thick. As the next ovulation cycle begins, the cells start creating the new functional layer above it.
The thickness of the layer usually varies from person to person, but the normal range of endometrial thickness for conceiving is considered to be around 8 mm which needs to go up to around 15 mm to be able to hold the fertilized egg securely.
There are three phases that affect the thickness of the endometrial lining. These are –
- Early Proliferative/Menstrual Phase – This is when the endometrium is the thinnest. If seen on an ultrasound, the layers seem like a thin straight line.
- Late Proliferative – This phase comes after the end of the menstrual phase and goes on till the end of ovulation. That’s when the endometrium begins to thicken.
- Secretary – This phase lies between the time your body ovulates and begins another menstrual cycle. The endometrial layer is the thickest during this phase.
In some cases, the endometrium remains thin through all the phases described above and makes it difficult for women to conceive. Let’s take a look at what could cause a thin endometrial layer.
What Causes a Thin Endometrium?
A thin endometrium may be caused due to several reasons.
1. Poor Blood Flow
If the uterus does not receive an adequate supply of blood, it may have trouble creating an endometrium that is thick enough for conception. The lack of adequate blood flow may be due to a tilted uterus, uterine fibroids or even a sedentary lifestyle.
2. Estrogen-Related Issues
Reduced levels of estrogen could sometimes prevent the growth of cells, which in turn inhibits the thickening of the endometrium.
3. Improper Functioning of Progesterone
When the progesterone hormone does not function in the manner it needs to, the endometrium does not thicken.
4. Side-Effects of Fertility Drugs
5. Stressful Lifestyle
The absence of enough rest and sleep could result in stress, which can prevent the optimal growth of the endometrium.
For those who wish to conceive, you’d be happy to know that there are ways to increase the thickness of the endometrium. Let’s find out how.
Ways to Increase Endometrial Thickness for Conceiving
There are a few ways in which you can improve the thickness of your endometrial layer and make it apt for conception. Here they are:
1. A Good Diet
Consuming a diet that is balanced and nutritious affects the levels of estrogen, maintains a balance of hormones, and boosts blood flow. All of these factors together assist in the growth of the ideal endometrial thickness for pregnancy.
Consume meals throughout the day to maintain healthy levels of insulin and cortisol. Include fibre in the diet as well as food items that have the Q10 coenzyme. This is a powerful antioxidant that reduces tissue-related stress and helps cultivate a thick endometrial layer.
Items like green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, eggs, carrots, and fish contain important vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin E along with the B-complex groups which are necessary for healthy blood circulation, so be sure to add these items in your diet. Cut down on sour food items and caffeine to improve your health.
2. Enough Rest
Good amounts of rest and sleep help bring a good balance of hormones which affect the thickening of the endometrium. An uninterrupted sleep of at least 7-8 hours is essential for the body to conduct its repair activities and undertake tissue growth optimally. Maintain a schedule of waking up and sleeping on time on a daily basis, and avoid staying up for long hours or late at night.
3. Regular Exercise
A natural way to boost blood circulation is by exercising. Adequate blood supply to the uterus also assists in the growth of the endometrium cells, thus increasing the thickness of the endometrial layer.
Intensive exercises aren’t necessary; spending about half an hour every day should suffice. Do varied forms of exercise to prevent your body from getting accustomed to one form of activity. Exercise helps induce a good sleep, thus assisting in the growth of the endometrial layer.
Acupuncture helps in restructuring the blood supply within the body, providing a boost to fertility. This ancient practice is also known to streamline delivery and provide relief to pregnant women. Studies have shown that reinforcing blood circulation around the kidneys can promote the formation of uterine endometrial blood vessels, which in turn can make the IVF process successful.
1. How Much Endometrial Thickness is Too Much
Just as a thin endometrial layer is a problem, an endometrial layer that is too thick can also be an issue. Endometrial hyperplasia is the medical term to define this condition, which usually occurs due to excessive estrogen levels. This is where the layer gets thicker than even 15 mm.
2. Is it Possible to Get Pregnant With an Endometrial Thickness of 5 mm?
5 mm is too thin a layer to sustain a pregnancy. Ovulation induction and progesterone supplements might be required to help increase the thickness of the endometrium to support the pregnancy.
The right endometrial thickness for conception is an essential component in the entire process of getting and staying pregnant. Adhering to healthy lifestyle choices and adopting proper treatment procedures to take care of the condition can help your body maintain a great environment for a baby.