What is endometrial hyperplasia?

Endometrial hyperplasia is an excessive or abnormal thickening of the lining of the uterus. This lining, called the endometrium, thickens every month in preparation for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, the lining is shed. This shedding process is called a menstrual period or menstruation. Most women have a normal menstrual period approximately every 28 days. This entire process is controlled by two hormones: estrogen and progesterone. If the hormones are out of balance or not available, then excessive growth of the cells lining the uterus may occur, which results in endometrial hyperplasia.

Most cases of endometrial hyperplasia are benign, or noncancerous. Because of the associated hormonal changes, this condition is most common among women who are nearing menopause or have reached menopause. Endometrial hyperplasia may also occur because of chronic disorders, such as diabetes, obesity, or polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Symptoms of endometrial hyperplasia include abnormal vaginal bleeding, including bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods, dramatic changes in the duration of menstrual periods, postmenopausal bleeding, or heavier menstrual blood flow. In some instances, endometrial hyperplasia may precede cancer of the uterus. Menstruating women with endometrial hyperplasia also have a risk for developing anemia (low red blood cell count).

Diagnosing endometrial hyperplasia requires a pelvic examination by your health care provider, who may also recommend laboratory tests to evaluate your hormone levels. Seek prompt medical care if you experience heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, irregular menstrual periods, or postmenopausal vaginal bleeding.


SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of endometrial hyperplasia?

Symptoms of endometrial hyperplasia include changes in menstrual periods. Some women also experience symptoms that are outside of the reproductive system, such as hot flashes (also known as hot flushes), which are feelings of intense heat along with excessive sweating and a rapid heart rate.

Common symptoms of endometrial hyperplasia

You may experience endometrial hyper... Read more about endometrial hyperplasiasymptoms

CAUSES

What causes endometrial hyperplasia?

Endometrial hyperplasia is an excessive or abnormal thickening of the lining of the uterus. This lining, called the endometrium, grows and thickens every month in preparation for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, the lining is shed. This shedding process, known as a menstrual period, is controlled by two hormones: estrogen and progesterone.

Estrogen is responsible for buildi... Read more about endometrial hyperplasiacauses

TREATMENTS

How is endometrial hyperplasia treated?

Treatment for endometrial hyperplasia depends on your stage in life and the severity of your symptoms. Younger women who are menstruating may benefit from medications to regulate their periods.

Women who experience endometrial hyperplasia as a symptom of perimenopause or menopause may be given a course of ... Read more about endometrial hyperplasiatreatments

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 1, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.