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The endometrium is the mucous membrane that serves as a lining for the inside of the uterus. A woman of child-bearing age generally has two layers of endometrium. The functional layer which grows throughout a woman's menstrual cycle and is shed during menstruation and, beneath that, the basal layer is never shed.
The cycle that causes the endometrium to grow and shed is controlled largely by estrogen and progesterone. The purpose of the endometrium is to provide a hospitable environment for a fertilized ovum.
There are certain circumstances including menopause or long term use of certain contraception that can cause endometrial atrophy.