Normal Luteal Phase is needed for Pregnancy
In order for your body to be fertile and for you to carry a pregnancy to term, you need to have a normal luteal phase. A luteal phase defect (LPD) can be simply defined as a failure for the lining in your uterus to be suitable for pregnancy to occur.
Even if the fertilized egg is able to be successfully implanted, you’ll still be at risk for an early miscarriage if you have a luteal phase defect. In layman’s terms, all this means is that LPD negatively affects your fertility and your ability to have a baby naturally.
The bottom line when it comes to a lot of fertility issues is that you need to ovulate normally if you’re going to conceive and have a safe pregnancy.
Just what is the Luteal Phase?
In a normal menstrual cycle, the luteal phase starts right after ovulation has occurred. The phase then continues until the next menstrual cycle begins. In a normal menstrual cycle, the luteal phase will last for 14 days; however, anywhere from 10 to 16 days will still be normal.
While this phase will vary from one woman to another, the length of the cycle will usually remain constant for each woman. During a normal luteal phase, a follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) will trigger the production of the follicle in one of the ovaries.
Each of these follicles will hold one egg which is then released during normal ovulation. Once the egg has been released progesterone will be secreted. Progesterone is a hormone that is necessary to maintain pregnancy.
It’s this hormone that helps the lining in the uterus to become thicker so that the environment in the uterus is ideal for the fertilized egg to implant itself. This is the normal cycle and explanation of the luteal phase.
Luteal Phase Defects Adversely Affect Fertility
If you have a luteal phase defect, your body won’t be able to produce enough of the progesterone hormone during the luteal phase. As well, the lining of your uterus may not react normally to the progesterone trigger.
What this means is that the lining of your uterus won’t be sufficiently prepared for the fertilized egg. The uterine lining will start to break down, bringing on your menstrual period or causing you to miscarry.
The main cause of LPD is low levels of progesterone. Another cause may be inadequate follicle production which is necessary for the mature egg to be released.
Pinpointing LPD Related to Infertility
The first sign that you may have a luteal phase defect is difficulty getting pregnant. Other signs are less obvious and can include the following:
- A shortened menstrual cycle.
- Low levels of progesterone.
- Abnormal basal temperature after you’ve ovulated.
- Bleeding and lower back pain during the luteal phase.
In order to correctly diagnose luteal phase defects, you’ll need to start by keeping track of your luteal phase. Your doctor will also want to schedule a blood test to check your progesterone levels.
Solving Luteal Phase Defects
There are several solutions for treating luteal phase defects. You’ll need to increase your progesterone levels either naturally or with supplements. Some of the therapies proven most effective include the following:
- Vitamin C: Increasing your Vitamin C intake can improve hormone levels and boost your fertility. Foods rich in Vitamin C include broccoli, bell peppers, oranges, and strawberries.
- Essential Fatty Acids: EFAs are essential for adequate hormone production. You can either take an EFA supplement or eat more walnuts, salmon, scallops, and flaxseeds.
- Chasteberry: Chasteberries come from a tree grown in the Mediterranean. It has been used for many years for infertility problems and may be advantageous is lengthening the luteal phase. Chasteberry can be taking in supplement form, commonly known as Vitex.
- Vitamin B6: Studies show that some women have been able to lengthen their luteal phase by taking Vitamin B6 supplements. If you’re taking B6 you’ll also need to take a multivitamin to avoid any vitamin imbalances from occurring.
Other foods that may treat your luteal phase defect are green vegetables that are high in Vitamin B, such as spinach and chard. A common treatment for lengthening the luteal phase is progesterone cream.
After you’ve ovulated, apply the cream twice daily to your neck, inner thigh, or inner arm. Keep applying until your period starts again. You can buy progesterone cream over the counter.
The Good News about LPD and your Fertility
There is some good news if you’ve been diagnosed with a luteal phase defect: once diagnosed, LPD is usually easy to treat and correct.
You’ll have to be diligent when it comes to tracking and monitoring your menstrual cycle, however, once you know what your body is doing, you can take measures to make corrections.
Just by lengthening your luteal phase, you can increase your chances of getting pregnant by up to 30 per cent. This is why it’s essential that if you’re trying to conceive that you understand what LPD is and what you can do to solve it.