One of the most important things for a successful IVF transfer or natural pregnancy is having a healthy thick uterine lining, but that’s not always possible for patients. I definitely have patients who have a hard time getting their uterine lining thick enough and healthy enough to move forward with a transfer. So I want to give you some tips on how to improve that. In this blog I’ll cover why the thickness of your lining matters, common causes of a thin lining and how you can use fertility acupuncture and chinese medicine to improve the thickness of your uterine lining.
What is the uterus lining?
The lining inside the uterus is where your fertilized egg will burrow down into and make itself a nice happy home. The lining of your uterus will provide food and sustenance for the embryo through blood flow. When it is thin, usually less than 7mm, then it may not be able to support a growing fetus.
Here are some signs of a thin endometrial lining:
- Abnormal periods
- Painful periods or cramps
- Trouble carrying a fetus to full-term
- A thin uterine lining is not a permanent condition. In fact, there are natural ways to thicken the uterine lining while trying to conceive.
What we’re looking for in a healthy endometrium.
A healthy endometrium should be a minimum of eight millimeters thick. We want it to have a trilaminar look, so it’s got three layers in the endometrium.
For a successful IVF procedure, IUI procedure, Embryo transfer or natural pregnancy your uterine lining needs to be as healthy as possible with plenty of good blood flow.
One of the things to also take, take into account if you’re having reproductive is what are you doing or taking that could be interfering with your lining and not helping it to grow to an appropriate thickness?
Common Causes of Thin Lining
One of the main culprits for it thin lining is Clomid. Clomid stimulates ovarian function and a follicular growth. But one of the main side effects for Clomid is causing a thin uterine lining or endometrium. So we have to be careful of repeated and prolonged use.
Imbalances in estrogen. Estrogen is the hormone that makes tissues grow – so if there is any decrease in estrogen or it’s metabolism then you can have trouble with uterine lining thickness.
How can I make my uterine lining thicker naturally?
Thin endometrial lining can also be caused by poor blood circulation & improper nutrition.
In fact, a lack of physical activity contributes to thin uterine lining. Exercise helps the body in a number of ways and something as simple as walking can actually thicken the uterine lining. Try to be more active and get at least 15-20 minutes of physical activity into the daily schedule.
Eating nutrient dense, minimally processed foods with adequate protein and healthy fats can help to provide the necessary micronutrients to help your cells be as healthy as possible. This can help to nourish your body, reduce inflammation and grow a healthier lining.
Acupuncture for uterine lining health and thickness
Acupuncture alone, specifically electroacupuncture has some really great results for increasing endometrial health and improving blood circulation to the area. A lot of what we’re trying to do here is improve blood circulation throughout the body, especially to the uterus.
Research shows that acupuncture increases blood flow to the uterus and ovaries thereby supporting proper uterine lining and egg maturation. In another study, acupuncture was shown to improve the poor receptive state of the endometrium by promoting LIF and IL-12 secretions to improve blastocyst implantation.
Just remember that acupuncture treatments aren’t magic and we are limited by the physiology of the body – so just like any medical intervention you will need enough treatments to make a difference.
When it comes to using acupuncture for fertility and to increase blood flow to the uterine lining, research shows you will need between 8-12 treatments before an IVF transfer to have excellent results. Acupuncture helps by increasing blood flow, supporting the menstrual cycle, balancing hormones and reducing stress.
In my fertility acupuncture clinic in Tampa, FL I find that we have the highest success rates for natural conception and in vitro fertilization when acupuncture is used for the period leading up to egg retrieval and then again leading up to the date of the transfer. The research shows the use of acupuncture for 8-12 treatments before embryo retrieval and then another 4-8 before and after the transfer significantly improves IVF success rates.
The Next Step
If you’re trying to conceive (naturally or with IUI/IVF) and are worried about how your uterine lining is doing, we understand. The thickness of the uterine lining can be a key indicator for whether or not pregnancy will take hold successfully. Acupuncture has been shown in some studies to increase blood flow which can improve the health of your uterine lining. We invite you to schedule an appointment with our acupuncturist today so that they can help assess any potential issues as well as provide treatment!
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