What’s the role of the endometrium?

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Knowing our body is essential to understand when something is wrong and prevent any disease. So, in this article, we’re going to talk about the endometrium. 

The endometrium is the lining of the uterus, and the thickness of it depends on the day of the menstrual cycle you’re in and the number of hormones (estrogen and progestin) in your blood.

This lining is where the fertilized egg (or blastocyst) will implant if conception takes place. 

Just before ovulation, the functional layer of the endometrium goes through specific changes. Structures called uterine glands to become longer, and tiny blood vessels proliferate, a process called vascularization. As a result, the endometrial lining becomes thicker and enriched with blood so that it's ready to receive a fertilized egg and also supports the placenta, the organ that develops during pregnancy to supply a fetus with oxygen, blood, and nutrients.

If during ovulation conception doesn't take place, the build-up of blood vessels and tissues becomes unnecessary and is shed. And surprise, this is what you know as your period.

During the month, your uterus goes through different phases:

  • Menstruation: This is the shedding of the uterine lining. Levels of estrogen and progesterone are low.

  • The follicular phase: The time between the first day of the period and ovulation. Estrogen rises as an egg prepares to be released.

  • The proliferative phase: After the period, the uterine lining builds back up again.

  • Ovulation: Your body wants a baby and it releases the egg from the ovary, mid-cycle. Estrogen peaks just beforehand, and then drops shortly afterwards. 

  • The luteal phase: The time between ovulation and before the start of menstruation, when the body prepares for a possible pregnancy. Progesterone is produced, peaks, and then drops.

  • The secretory phase: The uterine lining produces chemicals that will either help support an early pregnancy or will prepare the lining to break down and shed if pregnancy doesn’t occur.

Understanding your body is not just about knowing a bunch of stuff about it, it’s about listening and recognizing when something is wrong so you can take quick action. If you think that something could be wrong, remember to go with your doctor.