Causes & Treatment

IVF – what to do if you have a thin womb lining

Kate Davies, Registered Nurse  |   7 Feb 2023

You might hear doctors talk about a ‘thin womb lining’ during fertility treatment or IVF. With so much else on your plate, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So we’ve turned to expert registered nurse Kate Davies (RN, BSc (Hons), FP Cert) for guidance on supporting a healthy uterine lining.

Read her advice below on how to thicken your uterine lining for IVF, and natural conception.

Note, many fertility specialists recommend that both men and women take a trusted prenatal / fertility supplement whether trying to conceive via IVF or naturally. Always speak to your medical provider before changing your diet.

Over to Kate Davies… | @your_fertility_nurse

A Healthy Uterine Lining

When you have IVF treatment there are so many things to think about, decisions to make and inevitably lots of worries at every stage of your fertility treatment. One of the major concerns I hear from my patients is – what can they do if their womb lining is too thin, as this can affect IVF success rates. A healthy uterine lining is crucial for conception and for supporting an early pregnancy. I like to think of the uterine lining as a big, plump and comfy duvet that’s all ready for an embryo to nestle down into and implant.

A thin womb lining – often also referred to as a thin uterine lining, or endometrium, can be a serious problem during an IVF cycle and can lead to an IVF cycle being cancelled by a fertility clinic. If an IVF cycles goes ahead, then there is an increased risk of failed implantation or early miscarriage.

Related Article – ‘Treatment Options for Recurrent Miscarriage & Baby Loss’.

How thick does my uterine lining need to be?

During your IVF cycle, your endometrium thickness will be carefully monitored by ultrasound scan at your fertility clinic. Generally, a uterine lining for IVF of 9mm or greater is the best possible nourishing environment for the embryo.

Causes of a thin womb lining

There are several reasons why a woman might be told she needs to thicken her uterine lining and this can include:

  • Inflammation of the uterine lining (endometritis)
  • A condition called adenomyosis which causes displaced tissue
  • Uterine fibroids or polyps
  • Uterine adhesions caused by previous trauma or infection
  • Estrogen deficiency
  • Poor blood flow to the uterus
  • Repeated use of clomid (for longer than 3 months)

How to thicken your uterine lining

If you’re seeking fertility help, your fertility specialist may recommend a supplementary course of estrogen therapy to support your endometrium (thicken your uterine lining) for IVF. This is usually taken in the form of pills, patches or suppositories. An alternative is Gonal-F treatment to prompt your body to make more of its own estrogen.

Natural Treatments to Thicken your Uterine Lining for IVF

There are also natural treatments you can consider to help thicken the uterine lining for IVF as well as taking the medication prescribed by your doctor. These include:

  • Enjoying moderate exercise (not high intensity) to increase your heart rate and promote good oxygenated blood flow to the uterus
  • Reducing your caffeine intake to promote good circulation
  • Avoid using seasonal allergy medication or cold remedies as these are designed to constrict blood flow
  • Consider acupuncture
  • Try fertility massage to improve blood flow to the uterus
  • Make sure you are a healthy weight as a low BMI can reduce estrogen levels
  • Take the right supplements for you – there is some evidence to suggest from a study in 2010 that the supplements Vitamin E and L-arginine improve uterine thickness in women with a thin womb lining

Related Article – Conception Help – Help Prepare Your Body For Fertility With The Right Supplements

In Summary

Don’t worry if you’re struggling to thicken your uterine lining for IVF, as women are still able to conceive with a thin lining. Do however talk to your doctor or fertility specialist about your concerns and together you can decide on the best fertility treatment options for you.

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