Endometrial hyperplasia occurs when endometrial cells—which normally form the internal lining of the uterus and then shed each month in the menstrual flow—proliferate abnormally and cause a thickening of the uterine endometrial lining. A similar and more commonly known condition is endometriosis , in which the endometrial cells escape the uterine walls and grow unchecked outside the uterus. In both gynecological conditions, endometrial cancer can develop or coexist alongside these conditions.
Endometrial hyperplasia can manifest in three different forms:
- Simple hyperplasia: Minor crowding of endometrial glands and low risk of endometrial cancer
- Complex hyperplasia: Greater glandular crowding and intermediate risk of endometrial cancer
- Atypical hyperplasia: Complex glandular crowding and the highest risk of endometrial cancer
To schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in that specializes in endometrial hyperplasia treatment, call (718) 743-0505 or contact us online.
Endometrial Hyperplasia Causes & Risk Factors
Endometrial hyperplasia is most common in older women who are already in menopause or approaching menopause (perimenopause). However, it is also found in young women just beginning menstruation. It is most often caused by excess estrogen production—a common characteristic of perimenopausal women—with inadequate progesterone production. These key female hormones may also become imbalanced due to medication use, obesity and from gynecological conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome or infertility.
Endometrial hyperplasia most often occurs in women with one or more of the following risk factors:
- Over the age of 35
- Family history of gynecological cancer (endometrial, ovarian, uterine)
Endometrial Hyperplasia Symptoms
It is not fully understood why some people experience symptoms of endometrial hyperplasia, while others do not. When endometrial hyperplasia symptoms occur, they usually involve pain during intercourse or various abnormalities of menstruation, including:
- Heavy menstruation
- Bleeding between period or after menopause
- Abnormally long periods
- Absence of menstrual bleeding (amenorrhea)
- Menstrual cycles without normal ovulation (anovulatory periods)
Endometrial Hyperplasia Diagnosis
If left undiagnosed and untreated, endometrial hyperplasia will usually not abate on its own. Endometrial hyperplasia is often discovered because of abnormal uterine bleeding either between periods or after menopause. If you experience menstruation abnormalities, it is important to meet with your healthcare provider to ensure your overall gynecological health and to test for endometrial hyperplasia.
An endometrial biopsy is one surefire method for diagnosing endometrial hyperplasia—and it can also be used to rule out endometrial cancer. A transvaginal ultrasound (an interior ultrasound performed with a wand inserted into the vagina) to assess your endometrium is also used for diagnosing hyperplasia, as well as through the use of a hysteroscopy which uses a thin telescopic instrument to detect and treat hyperplasia.
Endometrial Hyperplasia Treatment Options
Endometrial hyperplasia can be treated with a variety of methods, including hormone therapy and minor surgeries. Progesterone therapy is typically the treatment of choice which works to counteract excess estrogen in the body and thin the uterine lining. It is given orally, topically or via injection, pellet or intrauterine device (IUD).
Instances of complex atypical hyperplasia may require more aggressive treatment to decrease the risk of cancer development. In these cases, if you do not plan on having more children, your healthcare provider may recommend a hysterectomy .
Endometrial Hyperplasia Prevention
Scheduling regular pelvic examinations can aid in early detection of endometrial or other gynecological abnormalities. In addition, hormones play a key role in endometrial hyperplasia development. Working to keep your hormones in balance, regardless of what stage in life you are in, can help to prevent endometrial hyperplasia development. Your healthcare provider can offer assistance to adapt a hormone balancing lifestyle, including diet, physical activity and supplement recommendations.
Since endometrial overgrowth is commonly associated with obesity, eating a healthy diet, avoiding fatty foods, losing weight and daily exercise may decrease your risk.
Request more information about endometrial hyperplasia and your testing and treatment options today. Call (718) 743-0505 or contact us online.