This article will help you read and understand your pathology report for atrophic endometrium.
by Adnan Karavelic, MD FRCPC, updated December 11, 2020
The uterus is a hollow muscular organ located in the female pelvis between the urinary bladder and the rectum (the lower end of the large bowel). The upper part of the uterus (fundus) is attached to the fallopian tubes while the lower part is connected to the vagina through the uterine cervix. Functions of the uterus include nurturing the baby, and holding it until the baby is mature enough for birth.
The walls of the uterus are made up of three layers:
Small samples of tissue can be removed from the endometrium by several different techniques with the two most common being endometrial biopsy and endometrial (or uterine) curetting.
Common reasons for these procedures include:
Atrophic endometrium is a diagnosis pathologists use to describe endometrial tissue that shows features of a process called atrophy. When a tissue undergoes atrophy, it becomes smaller and no longer functions normally.
Atrophic endometrium is different from the normal endometrium in the following ways:
Atrophic endometrium is a normal finding in prepubertal, postmenopausal and some perimenopausal women. However, it can also be seen with pre-cancerous or cancerous diseases and your doctor may suggest a biopsy of the endometrium to look for more serious conditions.
Some, but not all features of atrophy may also be seen in women of fertile age (between the early teens and the age of 45-55 years) who are still menstruating, but use some method of contraception, such as oral contraceptive pills or have an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD) inserted. Common IUD products are: Liletta, Kyleena, Mirena, and Skyla.
The use of any method of contraception is important information for both clinicians and pathologists and it should be recorded in the clinical notes as well as on the pathology requisition form.
In pathology reports, atrophic endometrium is sometimes called non-proliferative or inactive endometrium (with atrophic changes).