The endometrium and infertility - what every infertile couple needs to know about the uterine lining

For an infertile couple, it can be quite scary to go to a doctor , because doctors use a lot of medical jargon .

Many of these are difficult long words, which are hard to pronounce, and which they have never heard before. The problem is compounded by the fact that most doctors never bother to take the time and trouble to explain the meaning of these terms.

One of these foreign words is the endometrium . Yes, this is quite a mouthful, but its just the scientific word for the inner lining of the uterus . Endo means inside , and metrium means uterus , so don't get confused .

If you are willing to be patient and do your research for yourself, it's very easy for you to get up to speed , because understanding the problem of infertility and its treatment is not very complicated.

After all, you only need four things to have a baby normal eggs, uterus , sperm and fallopian tubes.

If there is a problem with the uterus lining or the endometrium, then this is easy to diagnose, using vaginal ultrasound scans.

The endometrium gets shed during the menstrual period as the menstrual flow, and at this time, the lining is thin. The uterine lining grows in response to the estrogen produced by the follicle during the follicular phase. Prior to ovulation, the endometrium is about 8 mm in size, and trilaminar in texture. This is reassuring, and suggests normal endometrial function.

In case the lining is thin, or distorted on the scans, this suggests there may be a problem with the endometrium , and the doctor can do a hysteroscopy to confirm this. Many of these problems - for example, an endometrial polyp, are easy to fix , provided you dont allow the doctor to bulldoze you by using a lot of fancy medical terms which are designed to confuse you, rather than enhance your understanding.

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Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.