Getting pregnant is a complicated process that requires a lot more than just sexual intercourse. In a woman’s body, the process of getting ready for conception starts with the anterior pituitary hormones, the ovarian hormones, the release of an egg (oocyte) from the ovaries, the thickening of endometrium lining, and after fertilization with a sperm, the implantation of the fertilized egg into the endometrium. This process involves many factors and has varying changes that might disrupt the entire process.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) has been extensively studied since its first success in 1978, with the birth of baby Louise Joy Brown. Many researchers have poured their lives into looking for ways that can increase the success rates of IVF since. Besides ovulation, the process where the ovary releases an egg, they find that the endometrial thickness is also crucial in the process of conception. Go for a health screening to find out more about the health of your reproductive system.
What is endometrium, and how does it relate to fertility?
Implantation is the process where a fertilized egg attaches to the endometrium, and it is crucial for the formation of the placenta and successful pregnancy. Researchers find that one of the causes of implantation failure is a thin endometrial wall.
The endometrium is the lining of the uterus, and its thickness is related to 2 main hormones – estradiol (estrogens) and progesterone. Estradiol is the hormone that helps in the proliferation and thickening of the endometrium, and progesterone helps to organize the blood vessels and structures within the endometrium . In a normal menstrual cycle without fertilization of an oocyte, the levels of estradiol and progesterone drop, which lead to the shedding of the endometrial lining, leading to menses.
The time when the oocyte is already released in preparation for fertilization with a sperm, the endometrial lining is also thickened, in order to receive a fertilized egg. An observational study identified an endometrium thickness of less than 8mm between days 19 – 24 of the normal menstrual cycle is related to implantation failure .
Established methods to thicken the endometrium
As mentioned above, endometrium thickness is crucial for implantation and is related to estradiol and progesterone. Many clinical guidelines have established that the administration of estradiol can help to thicken the endometrium. Estradiol can be administered via the oral, transdermal, or vaginal routes . Your gynecologist may also recommend other hormonal modalities that stimulate the increase of your own estradiol.
Natural ways to increase endometrium lining thickness
Estradiol and progesterone help to build the endometrial lining by increasing its blood supply. Therefore, many natural ways to increase the endometrium thickness involve improving blood flow through the body.
The uterus lies in the pelvic region, thus prolonged seating might reduce its blood flow. Regular aerobic exercises help in blood circulation and increase the blood through to the uterus. However, if you are preparing for pregnancy, high-intensity exercises might not be recommended. Consult your doctor and do not overstress your body.
Avoid substances that decrease blood flow
In relation to the above-mentioned, substances that might reduce blood flow to the uterus should also be avoided. These substances include nicotine and caffeine. Certain cold remedies containing vaso-constrictors should also be avoided.
A study done in Japan studied the effects of vitamin E, L-arginine, and sildenafil citrate on endometrial thickness . They found that all three supplements may improve the thickness of the endometrium. They even went through the lengths of looking at the endometrial changes under the microscope in patients who have taken vitamin E. It was found that there is better growth of the endometrial tissue with the use of vitamin E.
The process of getting pregnant is demanding, and many factors can affect this process. While the above recommendations are studied and well-established, consult your gynecologist or doctor for the best method for yourself. Also, a thick endometrium does not guarantee pregnancy, while a thin endometrium also does not mean absolute implantation failure. Therefore, a comprehensive assessment under a gynecologist with your partners is ideal, and be patient with the process.