The latter part of your menstrual cycle, which takes place after ovulation, is known as luteal phase. It typically lasts from 12 to 16 days, during which your body prepares for pregnancy to take place. The follicle in your ovary that contained the egg before ovulation, changes into corpus luteum.
Luteal phase is important for a reproductive cycle. Unfortunately, some women have a short luteal phase, also known as luteal phase defect. This makes it harder for them to become pregnant.
A short luteal phase is one that lasts fewer than 10 days. During this time, the hormone progesterone, which is essential to implantation and a successful pregnancy, isn’t secreted in the right amount. This causes the uterine lining to develop improperly and makes it impossible for fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.
It is one the biggest causes of infertility. In case you do become pregnant after ovulation, a short luteal phase may even cause miscarriage. Here are some of the major health conditions that cause a luteal phase defect:
- Endometriosis – where tissue normally found inside the uterus starts to grow outside it.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome – a disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with small cysts.
- Thyroid disorders – such as an overactive or underactive thyroid
- Excessive exercise
Symptoms and Diagnosis
During a short luteal phase, you may rarely realize that there’s a problem. If you face difficulty in conceiving, your doctor may ask to investigate further to see if you have a luteal phase defect. These are some of the common symptoms:
- Menstrual cycle that occur earlier than normal
- Spotting in between periods
- Inability to conceive
The diagnosis usually takes place when you face difficulties getting pregnant. Your doctor will conduct a variety of tests to determine whether infertility is being caused due to short luteal phase or other conditions. Usually, a blood test is done to check your levels of the following hormones:
- Follicle-stimulating hormone, a hormone released by the pituitary gland that regulates ovary function
- Luteinizing hormone, which causes ovulation
- Progesterone, which stimulates growth of uterine lining
Additionally, your doctor may recommend an endometrial biopsy a few days before you expect your menstrual cycle to begin, in order to check the thickness of the lining. You may also be asked to take a pelvic ultrasound for the same.
When your doctor is able to identify the cause of a luteal phase defect, they may be able to treat it. This may help improve your fertility as well. If the short luteal phase is caused due to extreme exercise or stress, your doctor may ask you to reduce your activity level and learn stress management. You may also be advised to take supplemental human chorionic gonadotropin – a pregnancy hormone. Taking this supplement can help your body secret more progesterone.
It is important to remember that not all treatments work the same for every woman. If you suspect short luteal phase, your doctor at KIMS Cuddles can help you find the most effective treatment and solution to your problem. Schedule your appointment and meet our experts today.
*Information shared here is for general purpose Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.