The endometrial, or uterine, lining is the spongy material that covers the inside of the uterus in preparation for pregnancy. Mostly composed of mucus and blood cells, it provides the resting place and nourishment for a newly fertilized egg. In order for an embryo to thrive, the lining needs to be thick enough, but not too thick. While there is debate, an accepted range of thickness is six to 13 mm.
The thickness of the uterine lining varies throughout the month in conjunction with your menstrual cycle. As you ovulate, the lining thickens to get ready in case an egg is fertilized. If the egg is not fertilized and begins decomposing, the lining will degrade and slough off. This becomes your menstrual flow. After your period, your lining is thinner, and will begin to build up again to repeat the cycle. Rarely, a woman will have a chronically thin endometrial lining. If it measures less than five millimeters at the fullest time of your cycle, you may have difficulty becoming pregnant. Your body may perceive that you will not be able to nourish another life.
How to Thicken the Endometrium
Fertility doctors often prescribe medications that can thicken your endometrial lining. They may prescribe other drugs, too, that are designed to increase your chances of conception. Some of these medications have side effects, like multiple births, which may not be desirable to you. Working with a fertility clinic is also very expensive. If you have been told that your infertility may be a result of a thin endometrium, you can try to thicken it using a home remedy before paying for other fertility measures.
The uterine lining responds to the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body at any given time. As your estrogen level rises during the course of your menstrual cycle, the lining will increase. If you have a thin lining, you may simply need estrogen supplementation. Recent theories state, however, that taking synthetic or animal-derived estrogen may increase your chances for breast or uterine cancer, as well as heart disease. Rather than a prescription, you can try plant-derived phytoestrogens. These substances, found in soy, red clover and other plants, act the same way as your own estrogen in your body, without the health risks.
You can find phytoestrogen supplements at your local pharmacy or health food store, and online. Follow package directions, and be sure not to overuse these products. Changes in hormone levels can affect many aspects of your health, not just reproduction. If you supplement with phytoestrogens, and still have trouble conceiving, consult with a qualified fertility expert.