Short Luteal Phase: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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A short luteal phase is one that lasts no more than 8 days. Progesterone is required for implantation and a healthy pregnancy. As a result, a short luteal phase may contribute to infertility.

Short Luteal Phase: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatmen
Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of the Short Luteal Phase

The ovulation cycle is divided into two stages.

The follicular phase begins on the first day of your last menstruation, when a follicle in one of your ovaries prepares to release an egg. Ovulation is the discharge of an egg from the ovary into the Fallopian tube.

The luteal phase, which occurs following ovulation, is the final stage of your cycle. The luteal phase usually lasts 11 to 17 days. Your body prepares for the chance of pregnancy during this time.

The corpus luteum is the follicle in your ovary that held the egg prior to ovulation. The corpus luteum’s principal job is to secrete the hormone progesterone.

Progesterone promotes the growth or thickening of the uterine lining. This prepares the uterus for fertilized egg or embryo implantation.

In the reproductive cycle, the luteal phase is crucial. Some women may have a luteal phase deficiency, which is characterized by a short luteal phase (LPD). As a result, getting pregnant becomes more difficult.

What is the cause of a short luteal phase?

A short luteal phase is one that lasts no more than 8 days. Progesterone is required for implantation and a healthy pregnancy. As a result, a short luteal phase may contribute to infertility.

When the luteal phase is too short, the body does not secrete enough progesterone, and the uterine lining does not form properly. This makes implanting a fertilized egg in the uterus difficult.

If you become pregnant after ovulation, a short luteal phase could lead to an early miscarriage. The uterine lining must be thick enough for an embryo to connect and develop into a baby in order to sustain a successful pregnancy.

A short luteal phase can also be caused by corpus luteum failure.

Your uterine lining may shed before a fertilized egg implants if the corpus luteum does not secrete adequate progesterone. This may result in an early menstrual cycle.

LPD can also be caused by the following conditions:

  • Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue located inside the uterus begins to grow outside the uterus.
  • PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a condition that causes enlarged ovaries with tiny cysts.
  • Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and iodine deficiency
  • obesity
  • anorexia
  • excessive physical activity
  • aging
  • stress

Short luteal phase symptoms

You may be unaware of an issue if you have a short luteal phase. In fact, you may not realize you have a reproductive problem until you are unable to conceive.

If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, your doctor can look into if you have LPD. Symptoms could include:

  • earlier than normal menstrual cycles
  • spotting in between periods
  • inability to get pregnant
  • miscarriage

Short luteal phase diagnosis

If you are unable to conceive, the first step toward improving your chances is to identify the underlying cause. Discuss infertility with your doctor.

They can run a number of tests to determine whether infertility is caused by a short luteal phase or something else. Blood tests will most likely be performed to determine your levels of the following hormones:

  • follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), a pituitary gland hormone that affects ovary function.
  • LH, or luteinizing hormone, is the hormone that causes ovulation.
  • progesterone, the hormone that induces uterine lining growth

In addition, your doctor may advise you to have an endometrial biopsy.

A little sample of your uterine lining is collected and inspected under a microscope during the biopsy. The thickness of the lining can be measured by your doctor.

A pelvic ultrasound may also be ordered to assess the thickness of your uterine lining. A pelvic ultrasound is a type of imaging test that employs sound waves to produce images of organs in your pelvic area, such as your:

  • ovaries
  • uterus
  • cervix
  • fallopian tubes

Short luteal phase treatment

Pregnancy may be possible once your doctor determines the underlying reason of your LPD. In many circumstances, treating the underlying problem is critical to boosting fertility.

For example, if a short luteal phase is caused by excessive exercise or stress, reducing your activity level and learning stress management techniques can result in the return of a normal luteal phase.

Stress-reduction techniques include:

  • decreasing personal obligations
  • deep breathing exercises
  • meditation
  • moderate exercise

Supplemental human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a pregnancy hormone, may also be recommended by your doctor. Taking this supplement can assist your body in secreting more progesterone.

After ovulation, your doctor may also advise you to take extra progesterone pills. This promotes the growth of your uterine lining to the point where it can support the implantation of a fertilized egg.

Medications such as clomiphene citrate, which stimulates your ovaries to produce more follicles and release more eggs, are another way to increase your chances of getting pregnant.

Because not all treatments are effective for every woman, you’ll need to collaborate with your doctor to find the most effective medication or supplement.

Controversies about luteal phase defect

There are various controversies over LPD, with some experts disputing its significance in infertility and even whether it exists at all.

Let’s take a closer look at this.

There is no universally accepted method to diagnose LPD.

Endometrial biopsies have traditionally been used to diagnose LPD. However, previous research has found that biopsy results are little linked with fertility.

Other diagnostic methods for LPD include detecting progesterone levels and monitoring basal body temperature (BBT).

However, due to the diversity of criteria and individual variances, neither of these strategies has been demonstrated to be accurate.

There is no definitive proof that LPD causes infertility.

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine issued a statement on LPD and infertility in 2012. They stated in this statement that there is now insufficient study evidence to demonstrate that LPD alone causes infertility.

According to one 2017 study, solitary cycles with a short luteal phase are very common, whereas repeated cycles with a short luteal phase are uncommon. It came to the conclusion that a short luteal phase may impair short-term fertility but not necessarily long-term fertility.

A 2018 study looked at luteal phase length and birth rate in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). They discovered no difference in the birth rate between women with short, average, and extended luteal phases.

There is little evidence that LPD therapies work.

In 2012, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine debated the numerous LPD therapies. There is currently no medication that has been consistently demonstrated to improve pregnancy outcomes in women with natural cycles, according to the researchers.

A Cochrane review published in 2015 looked at the use of hCG or progesterone supplements in assisted reproduction.

It discovered that, while these treatments may result in more births than a placebo or no therapy, the evidence for their efficacy was equivocal.

Clomiphene citrate is another medication that is sometimes used to treat LPD. However, there are currently few research on its effectiveness.

Last Step

Being unable to conceive or having a miscarriage can be difficult and upsetting, but there is help available.

It is critical that you should not dismiss fertility concerns.

The sooner you seek medical attention to determine the underlying problem, the sooner you can begin therapy and improve your chances of having a safe pregnancy.

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