WHAT IS THE UTERINE LINING?
The uterine lining is a thick, healthy lining medically known as the endometrium and it is essential for a healthy menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Estrogen is responsible for creating a thick, lush and blood rich endometrium. When an egg is fertilized, it requires a certain level of thickness to implant itself and start growing. A healthy uterine lining should be at least 8 mm thick.
What Is A Thin Uterine Lining?
The uterus has three layers; the endometrium which is the innermost layer and it thickens in expectation of an embryo implantation.
During the menstrual cycle, the top functional layer of your endometrium disintegrates and sheds. In the first half of the cycle prior to ovulation, the ovaries produce estrogen which helps the underlying basal layer of your endometrium recreate the functional layer. After ovulation, the body produces progesterone which further thickens the endometrium, thereby increasing the number of blood vessels in the lining.
If fertilization doesn’t occur, progesterone level drops causing the endometrium to degenerate and flow as a period. Women who have a thin uterine lining have a lower chance of getting pregnant. The specific reason for a persistent thin uterine is not known. However, there are possible reasons for a thin uterine lining, which include the following:
- Low Estrogen
The endometrium relies on a generous supply of estrogen to thicken, the estrogen hormone is the major component on which the entire menstrual cycle is dependent on. Women without periods often have a thin uterine lining due to low levels of hormones.
Perimenopause and menopause are the most common causes of low estrogen levels, which is completely normal in ageing women. However, it becomes a problem for women in their 20s, 30s and 40s especially women who are trying to get pregnant. If, you’re TTC it is a good idea to have your estradiol levels tested and uterine thickness measured.
If the uterine lining thinning is as a result of low estrogen levels, estrogen can be given orally, through estrogen injections, estrogen patches or administered vaginally. In a case where this doesn’t work then it indicates the blood flow is compromised or the endometrial tissues are damaged. In some women, a thin uterine lining may be the result of not getting sufficient amount of estrogen. Estrogen levels can be checked through a blood test.
Also, thin uterine lining could be the result of damage to the uterine lining. For instance, a previous uterine infection or surgery inside the uterine cavity could cause the formation of scar tissue which can replace a normal uterine lining. In this case, surgery will be required to remove scarred tissue.
High doses of Vitamin E and an amino acid called L-arginine can be used to increase the thickness of the uterine lining which is usually more effective in women with poor blood flow. A more natural way of thickening the uterine lining and improve fertility is by having a regular fertility cleanse.
- Inadequate Blood Flow
Inadequate blood flow could be caused by several factors such as:
Women who have little to no movement daily especially women who have a desk job or sit all day are at high risks of having compromised blood flow to the uterus.
Generally, it is quite normal for the uterus to tilt forward. However, blood circulation can be restricted if the uterus tilts backwards or to one side. This phenomenon is common in about 20% of all women.
A uterine fibroid is a noncancerous tumour that may alter the blood flow to the endometrium by pressing on vital circulatory pathways that supply blood to the endometrium. Uterine fibroids may harden over time, further hindering blood flow.
- Poor Health of the Endometrial Tissue
Impairment of the endometrium tissues can be caused by an infection, surgery or illness. This damage may also compromise blood flow and functions of the endometrium.
Infection and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Chronic bacterial infections, sexually transmitted disease (STDs), or damage to the uterus may cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The constant state of infection and inflammation can cause damage to the tissues and may result in scar tissue formation in the endometrium. When this happens the endometrium may not be able to function as it should.
- Scar Tissue and Adhesion Damage
Asherman’s syndrome which is basically scarred tissue damage in the endometrium. There are different grades of severity. This type of damage can be a direct result of one of or a combination of the following:
Reproductive organ surgery; laparoscopy, cesarean section
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Induced medical abortion
- Repeated Use of Clomid
Clomid is a medication commonly used by couples trying to conceive. It is used to stimulate ovulation. In some cases, repeated use of Clomid has been shown to cause a thin uterine lining. Clomid works by interfering with estrogen production, thereby stimulating the production of GnRH which triggers the pituitary to increase FSH, resulting in induced ovulation.
Continuous use of Clomid especially when used for 3 cycles in a row, can block the stimulation of estrogen to thicken the endometrium. It causes a buildup of isomer, Clomid contains two isomers. Isomers are compounds that contain the same molecular formula, but different structural formulas. This action on estrogen levels can also prevent natural ovulation in future cycles, actually inhibiting conception. It is suggested to give the body a break from Clomid for at least 6 weeks to eliminate the remaining isomer from the body.
- Long-term Birth Control Use Containing Progestin
Long-term use of oral contraceptives that contain high amounts of Progestin has been linked to thinning of the uterine lining and uterine atrophy. The longer a woman uses progestin, the increased chance for a weak and thin uterine lining.
Symptoms of Thin Endometrium
- Issues pertaining to infertility
- Abnormal or irregular Menstrual Cycle
- Irregular or Painful Menses
- Inadequate menstrual bleeding
Natural Therapies to Build & Protect the Uterine Lining
In order to naturally thicken the uterine lining, it is essential you work to nourish and increase the endometrium.
Exercising regularly increases the circulation of blood flow to vital and reproductive organs of the body. A sedentary lifestyle can be detrimental to the uterine lining as it compresses the reproductive organs. A simple walk every day allows a good amount of blood flow to the uterus. Exercising helps to reduce stress, which helps to keep the uterine artery open.
New treatments for thin uterine lining
Recent studies are experimenting with stem cells treatment. It works by stimulating the stem cells at the bottom of the uterine lining to produce a healthier, thicker uterine lining.
Prepare with a Fertility Cleanse
Studies have shown that repeated use of synthetic hormones and medications for fertility can cause a thin uterine lining. For instance, the continuous use of Clomid or hormonal birth control in the past, especially long-term. If you are trying to conceive you’d need to give your body at least a 3-6 month break from those medications to restore the lining of the uterus and prepare for pregnancy. Also, performing a Fertility Cleanse in this time has amazing benefits in aiding to restore hormonal balance and improving uterine health.
Herbs and Supplements to Nourish and Build a Thin Uterine Lining
There are several herbs that are commonly used to nourish and protect the uterine lining by promoting adequate circulation and support adequate estrogen levels (phytoestrogens). They are high in iron for healthy blood and have a direct action on the uterus. Some of these herbs and supplements include the following:
Royal Jelly: Royal Jelly has the ability to mimic human estrogen, which increases low estrogen levels. Royal Jelly consumption on uterine health this is exciting potential for women with weak uterine muscles or thin uterine lining.
Maca root (Lepidium meyenii): Maca aids the body in controlling estrogen in the body. Proper estrogen levels are essential to building up the endometrium in preparation for ovulation and conception.
Red Clover aerial parts (Trifolium pretense)
Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)
Ground Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum)
Wild Yam root (Dioscorea villosa)
Motherwort aerial parts (Leonurus cardiac)
Vitamin E & L-Arginine
Blood Building Foods and Supplements
Eating healthy foods that are rich in iron are essential. Good choices are beets, spinach, beans, organic red animal meats, pumpkin seeds, molasses, and asparagus. Also, include foods that help the absorption of iron like oranges, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes and green pepper. Increase the consumption of iron-rich foods and folic acid.
Fertility massage aids in breaking down and healing scar tissue. This massage enhances circulation to the reproductive organs, strengthens the muscles of the uterus, promotes the proper function of the hormonal feedback loop, and supports detoxification of the reproductive organs.
Castor Oil Packs
It is a form of therapy that is pivotal for detoxification and also ensures seamless flow of blood to uterus while ensuring optimal level of estrogen. It is also beneficial in making Endometrium thicker. Castor Oil packs affect three important parts of the body: lymphatic and circulatory systems and the liver. The stimulation of these three vital body systems aids the body in healing the organs and tissues. It also supports hormonal balance, detoxification of the reproductive organs, breakdown and removal of scar tissue, while promoting essential blood flow directly to the uterus.
Acupuncture and Moxibustion
Moxibustion is the practice of burning Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) on top of acupuncture needles or in a small flat burner. Acupuncture works by alleviating stress levels and negative energies that are accumulated in the body. Chronic stress can cause shrinkage of Endometrium and acupuncture has shown to be essential to alleviate stress levels, it is instrumental in shoring up damaged tissues and removal of scars and it’s shown to increase the release of beta-endorphins, which interrupts negative activity by the nervous system due to stress.
Hysteroscopy is a method of looking inside the uterine cavity. It allows a surgeon to evaluate the endometrial conditions. Intrauterine adhesions can also be removed if present and causing thin Endometrium.
GCSF (Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor)
The infusion of GCSF helps to increase the endometrial thickness which can resolve infertility issues related to having a thin Endometrium.