In ideal conditions, the monthly shedding and rebuilding of the uterine lining provides the perfect environment for implantation and the progression of a healthy pregnancy. However, for some women, even with healthy eggs, the uterine environment may not be conducive to implantation and the egg ‘just won’t stick’. These have women have difficulty holding a pregnancy and are prone to early miscarriage.
Conditions affecting uterine health
- Uterine fibroids
- Uterine scarring, resulting from previous abortion, dilation and curette (D&C), IUD, caesarean, abdominal or uterine surgery or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Depending on their severity, these conditions can be successfully treated to improve uterine health and enable successful implantation and maintenance of a healthy pregnancy.
Lifestyle factors affecting uterine health
Lack of activity and exercise decreases blood flow to the reproductive organs including the uterus. Decreased blood flow means less nutrients being carried to the uterus and more stagnation and congestion. A sedentary lifestyle can also impact the health of the muscular tissue of the uterus, weakening uterine strength.
Any factors affecting hormonal balance can negatively impact uterine health. Irregular menstruation, short, long, unusually light or heavy cycles can affect the body’s ability to properly shed the endometrium. The endometrium relies on hormonal cues to adequately shed and rebuild a healthy lining. Hormonal imbalance can lead to incomplete shedding or poor rebuilding of the uterine lining, affecting its ability to house and nurture an embryo. Healthy estrogen levels are required to build a thick, healthy lining. Inadequate levels can lead to a thin lining which is not conducive to implantation. A uterine lining less than 8mm thick is considered inadequate.
Although these medications can be valuable to act as a contraceptive or to improve fertility, long-term use of synthetic hormones such as the Pill has been shown to reduce the thickness and health of the uterine lining. Ideally taking a 3 – 6 month break from these medications can help nourish and support uterine health.
Improving uterine health
Women with specific medical conditions affecting the health of their uterus will require specific treatment. However there are many things you can do to positively influence uterine health either in combination with these treatments or on their own for those with less specific uterine issues or who are just wanting to optimise uterine health.
Activity is so important for reproductive health. Regular gentle exercise such as walking, light jogging, or aerobics will help to stimulate blood flow to the uterus. To specifically address uterine health by focusing on the muscles surrounding the uterus, there are classes available for yoga and Pilates specifically focused on uterine tone and fertility enhancement.
Again a much mentioned topic and for good reason. Stress reduces the body’s ability to produce sex hormones required for reproduction, increases stress hormones, reduces nutritional status as well as lessening important blood flow to the uterus.
Diet plays a key role in uterine health. Eating a healthy, balanced diet free from chemical contaminants helps nourish and support uterine health. Your Fertile Pantry provides diet guidelines to help support uterine health, egg health and overall fertility.
Other key nutrients, which can play a supportive role in uterine health, include
- vitamin C
- vitamin E
However as iron is a heavy metal, which is not easily excreted from the body, you should always have your iron levels checked before taking high dose supplements and always check with your Health Care Practitioner before self prescribing.
The liver plays a major role in maintaining hormone balance as well as ridding the body of unwanted toxins, which can affect uterine health. A good liver tonic in combination with a healthy diet can be a useful addition. These include
- milk thistle
Nourishing, building herbs can also benefit uterine health, these include
- raspberry leaf