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 building up the uterine lining, and progesterone maintains and controls this buildup. Too much estrogen and not enough progesterone can cause overgrowth of the cells that line the uterus, along with excessive thickening of the endometrium. Women who take estrogen hormone therapy without taking any form of progesterone to balance the effects of estrogen are at risk for the development of endometrial hyperplasia and cancer.

Endometrial hyperplasia may also occur because of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a disorder that involves hormone disturbances and may not involve multiple small cysts in one or both ovaries.


What are the risk factors for endometrial hyperplasia?

A number of factors increase the risk of developing endometrial hyperplasia. Not all women with risk factors will get endometrial hyperplasia. Risk factors for hyperplasia include:

  • Diabetes
  • Estrogen therapy without taking progesterone
  • Menopause or the years around menopause
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Obesity
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome

Reducing your risk of endometrial hyperplasia

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

You may be able to lower your risk of endometrial hyperplasia by:

  • Consulting with your health care provider about hormone replacement therapy
  • Keeping track of your menstrual periods
  • Maintaining a healthy weight, or losing weight, if advised to do so by your health care provider
  • Managing your diabetes
  • Taking contraceptives to help regulate your menstrual periods
INTRODUCTION

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 contro... Read more about endometrial hyperplasiaintroduction

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

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.