Endometrial Hyperplasia usually occurs in young girls who are just beginning to have their menstrual cycles and older women who are experiencing menopause. The majority of women who develop endometrial hyperplasia are not at risk for developing a serious health condition.
Endometrial hyperplasia is when the lining of the uterus begins to thicken abnormally. This condition is caused when the endometrial glands begin to increase. In some instances an examination may be required to determine if the tissue is precancerous.
This is also known as atypical adenomatous hyperplasia which can eventually cause the more serious uterine (endometrial) cancer. The majority of all women with endometrial hyperplasia can usually be treated with hormonal therapy. In some cases, minor surgery may be required.
Causes of Endometrial Hyperplasia
There are several different factors that can cause endometrial hyperplasia to develop including an increase in a woman’s estrogen levels. This increase can be caused by taking certain hormonal therapies during menopause. If the progesterone is replaced in the body without estrogen, endometrial hyperplasia can develop. Young women who are just beginning to menstruate can also have lower hormonal levels and be at a greater risk for developing this condition.
Symptoms of Endometrial Hyperplasia
There are several common symptoms associated with the condition including,
- Bleeding or spotting in between regular periods.
- Menstrual periods are beginning to last longer than normal.
- Extremely heavy bleeding or clotting.
- A complete lack of monthly periods, this is also known as Amenorrhea.
- Experience regular periods without ovulation or Anovulatory periods.
Diagnosing Endometrial Hyperplasia
While it is possible for women to suspect that they might be suffering from this condition, a health care professional needs to be consulted before a complete diagnosis can be made. Some of the common methods for determining if a woman is suffering from endometrial hyperplasia often include,
- Pap smears are commonly used to help detect other health problems, and involve testing the skin cells on the cervix. While it is an important tool in early prevention of some women’s health problems, it normally is not capable of detecting endometrial hyperplasia.
- Removal and testing of tissue during a pelvic exam.
- In some cases a hysteroscopy is performed. A small instrument is inserted into the uterus to remove a sample of skin cells for further testing. While there may be some discomfort during the quick procedure, there are not any long lasting side effects associated with a hysteroscopy.
- Occasionally, a health care professional may widen the cervix and remove a tissue sample from the lining of the uterus. This procedure is called a dilatation and curettage.
The most common method, and least invasive is using an ultrasound machine to help determine the thickness of the uterine lining. It is a quick and effective way to begin diagnosing your health condition.
Treatments for Endometrial Hyperplasia
There are a few different methods that women can choose to treat their endometrial hyperplasia, and choosing the right one depends on the cause of the condition. A health care professional can help you decide which treatment option is right for you. In most cases, a dilatation and curettage can easily remove any excess tissue with minimal side effects.
Some women may only require hormone supplements including both estrogen and progesterone. Women who have not begun menopause, but are still suffering from hormone imbalance often begin taking a contraceptive. This can help to quickly regulate the hormones, and can then be discontinued afterwards. There are some instances where a hysterectomy may be required, and is when the uterus is surgically removed.
This is normally only done when progesterone treatments do not work on reversing the adenomatous hyperplasia. A hysterectomy can also be performed when there is an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Preventing Endometrial Hyperplasia
There is no way to actually prevent this condition form occurring, but there are ways for women to help minimize their risk of developing it. Regular pelvic exams, including Pap smears can not only help with diagnosis, it can also help to prevent other health problems.
Women who are experiencing, or who have experienced menopause may need to consider taking hormonal therapies. The best way to prevent this, and other health problems from developing is to have a healthy lifestyle. This includes not only maintaining a healthy weight, but also including exercise and eliminating foods high in fat.
While this is often not a serious medical condition, women should always discuss any health concerns with a health care professional before they develop into problems.