Luteal phase defect is a condition that can lead to infertility in a woman. This article provides some information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of this defect.
A woman’s menstrual cycle begins on the first day of her periods, and ends on the day she has her next periods. Women who have regular periods are said to have a 28 day menstrual cycle, however, there are women who have longer, as well as shorter menstrual cycles. The menstrual cycle can be divided into different sections which include menstruation, follicular phase, ovulation, and luteal phase. For most women, menstruation extends anywhere between 5 – 7 days. After this comes the follicular phase, where the egg is in the maturation process in the ovaries. When fully matured, the egg is released into the ovaries for fertilization. This phase is called ovulation, and it lasts for 12 – 24 hours. During this period, if the egg is fertilized by the sperm, it begins the process of implantation. This last phase after ovulation is called the luteal phase. Under normal circumstances, the phase extends for 12 – 17 days, that is, before the beginning of the next period. However, the problem of early arrival of periods could occur, when the duration of this phase is shorter than 12 days. This could make such women susceptible to early miscarriage. Therefore, it is extremely crucial to understand the problem.
According to opinions from the experts, it is not a serious issue, and is a common problem. In other words, there are several ways in which this problem can be treated. However, to determine the treatment course, it is necessary to understand the underlying cause. The main reason for this defect is very low production of the hormone progesterone.
Here are a few causes that can decrease the production of progesterone. Many times, the cause can be traced in the follicular stage itself. During this stage, the woman’s body produces the hormone FSH, which is the follicle-stimulating hormone. If the follicle does not produce adequate amount of FSH, the follicle where the egg matures, does not develop properly. Usually, when the egg is released into the Fallopian tubes, the follicle gets converted into corpus luteum, which is responsible for the production of progesterone in the body. However, if the follicle has not developed completely, the corpus luteum could be of low quality. Due to this reason, the production of progesterone will be inadequate, which will cause the uterine lining to shed itself before the actual time. During this time, if fertilization had taken place, the pregnancy would not be successful, as the uterine lining would not be able to implant the embryo to it, due to low, or lack of progesterone.
Sometimes, even if the follicular development is adequate, the corpus luteum may not be able to persist for a long time, which could cause decrease in progesterone level. This defect can also be caused if the uterine lining is not able to respond, even though the follicle development is adequate and the corpus luteum stays for a long time. In other words, the uterine lining may not able to respond to the normal progesterone level, and starts shedding itself, leading to early onset of menstruation.
Most of the time, women are able to detect this problem when they are trying to become pregnant. One of the signs is the occurrence of periods before the actual time. Another way to detect the problem is to monitor the basal body temperature. Usually, during ovulation and the time after that, the basal body temperature of a woman is higher than the normal temperature. However, if one is affected by this defect, one will realize that their basal body temperature does not stay elevated during this particular phase.
As mentioned earlier, the treatment for this problem will mainly depend on the reason that has caused it. People having problem need to consult a health practitioner to know its root cause. The most common method that is used to determine the cause is by conducting an endometrial biopsy. It can be treated with both, over-the-counter, as well as, prescription drugs. Certain vitamin supplements, as well as progesterone creams that can treat this problem are also available. A drug named Clomid, which is taken orally, may also be prescribed by the physician. Some women are also given progesterone suppositories, which are usually injected through the vagina, after the occurrence of ovulation.
If you maintain a fertility chart, it will be easy for you to determine whether you are affected by the luteal phase defect. If you are doubtful about it, consulting a doctor can help you get the right treatment, thus increasing your chances of conception.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.