Difference between Proliferative and Secretory Endometrium

The innermost lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. The high level of estrogen during the menstrual cycle helps in the proliferation of this endometrial layer. This is called proliferative endometrium. The endometrium gradually thickens, and there is a surge in progesterone hormone. This leads to the secretory endometrial phase. Usually, the endometrial layer shreds in the absence of implantation.

Proliferative Endometrium

The proliferative phase is considered the second phase of the uterine cycle. This phase is under the influence of high estrogen. This causes the uterus lining to proliferate. Usually, the mature ovarian follicles secrete estrogen, which helps in the formation of a new endometrial layer.

The high levels of estrogen help the cervix to produce cervical mucus that aids the movement of sperm. This increases the probability of fertilisation. This mucus can be observed as vaginal discharge.

Secretory Endometrium

This is the final phase of the uterine cycle. Secretory endometrium is considered as a non-cancerous thickening in the endometrium of the uterus. Here, the corpus luteum produces a high level of progesterone that makes the endometrium ready for implantation. Also, the cervical mucus thickens.

Progesterone helps to reduce the force of muscle contractions in the uterus and also raises basal body temperature.

Difference between Proliferative and Secretory Endometrium

Proliferative Endometrium

Secretory Endometrium

Proliferative is the second phase of the uterine cycle.

Secretory is the final phase of the uterine cycle.

This phase is under the action of high estrogen.

This phase is under the high progesterone hormone.

The lining of the endometrium proliferates.

The endometrium thickens and is ready for implantation.

The ovarian follicle grows in this phase.

The ovarian follicles turn into corpus luteum and degenerate.

Also Read: Difference between Estrogen and Progesterone

Frequently Asked Questions


What is menstrual cycle?

Menstrual cycle is the series of hormonal changes in the structure of ovary and uterus of females. The ovarian cycle regulates the release of egg. The uterine cycle prepares the endometrium to receive the fertilized egg. Every phase of this cycle is influenced by female hormones like progesterone, estrogen, LH and FSH.


What is endometrial biopsy?

It is a medical procedure in which a small tissue portion of the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) is removed. This is mainly done for diagnosis purposes.


What is corpus albicans?

The corpus luteum stops producing progesterone hormone if the egg is unfertilized. Then the luteum decays and degenerates into a scar tissue called corpus albicans.

Explore: Menstrual Cycle

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