Endometrial hyperplasia is a condition in which the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) becomes thickened. This occurs when there is an overgrowth of the cells that make up the endometrium.
There are two types of endometrial hyperplasia: simple hyperplasia and complex hyperplasia. Simple hyperplasia is characterized by an overgrowth of normal endometrial cells, while complex hyperplasia is characterized by an overgrowth of abnormal cells. Complex hyperplasia with atypia is considered a precancerous condition, as it increases the risk of developing endometrial cancer.
Endometrial hyperplasia is caused by a hormonal imbalance, typically an excess of estrogen in relation to progesterone. Factors that can contribute to this hormonal imbalance include obesity, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and the use of certain medications such as tamoxifen.
Symptoms of endometrial hyperplasia include abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as heavy or prolonged periods, spotting between periods, and postmenopausal bleeding. However, it's important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions and are not specific to endometrial hyperplasia.
Diagnosis of endometrial hyperplasia is typically made through a pelvic exam, ultrasound, and biopsy. Biopsy is either performed in the office or in the operating room. Treatment options include hormonal therapy, such as progesterone therapy, and surgery, such as a hysterectomy.
It's important for women who have any symptoms of abnormal vaginal bleeding to discuss them with their healthcare provider and to schedule regular gynecological exams. Hormonal imbalances can be treated and endometrial hyperplasia can be prevented by taking steps to maintain a healthy weight, control diabetes and other conditions, and by avoiding certain medications that increase the risk of endometrial hyperplasia.