Dr. Taiwo Orebamjo
The luteal phase is the phase of the ovulation cycle that occurs after the egg has been released and lasts around two weeks. During this time, a woman’s body releases progesterone and thickens the lining of the uterus to prepare for pregnancy.
When the luteal phase lasts for 10 days or less, it is known as a short luteal phase or a luteal phase defect.
A woman with a short luteal phase may have a harder time getting or staying pregnant. Her body will not have as much progesterone as a woman with a longer luteal phase. However, treatments are available for women with short luteal phases who wish to become pregnant.
This piece will take a look at the symptoms of a short luteal phase, along with what causes it and the treatment options that are available.
There are often few symptoms for a woman who has a short luteal phase.
In fact, many women will not realize they have a short luteal phase until they attempt to conceive. A short luteal phase is one major cause of fertility issues in women, and the primary symptom is trouble conceiving.
The symptoms of luteal phase include: Spotting between periods, miscarriage, not being able to become pregnant and early menstrual cycles.
A short luteal phase is often the result of the body not producing enough progesterone. Lack of progesterone results in the uterus lining inability to be thick enough for a fertilized egg to implant or stay implanted.
If a woman becomes pregnant and then suffers a miscarriage, it may be because of a short luteal phase. Without a thick enough uterine wall, the embryo will not be able to stay firmly attached. Often, this results in an early miscarriage.
If the corpus luteum fails to produce enough progesterone, the uterus lining may shed before the fertilized egg implants. Without the thickened lining, the egg will not be able to implant, and the woman will enter her menstrual cycle.
Though any woman may develop a short luteal phase, several health conditions may cause or are risk factors for having a short luteal phase. These conditions include: Anorexia, obesity, aging, excessive exercise, stress and too much of the hormone responsible for milk production.
Others are, underactive or overactive thyroid, endometriosis, where tissue in the uterus starts to grow outside of it and polycystic ovarian syndrome, where enlarged ovaries often have cysts.
A woman or a couple seeking to get pregnant will often see a doctor when they have had trouble conceiving. Infertility issues could be caused by a range of different issues and conditions.
A doctor will likely carry out several tests to find out if a short luteal phase is the cause or if there is another condition interfering with getting pregnant.
One of the first tests that a doctor will likely perform is a blood test. The test will measure the levels of certain hormones in the body to help determine the cause of the infertility.
The hormones that the doctor will check levels for include: Progesterone, which causes the lining of the uterus to thicken, luteinizing hormone, which starts ovulation and follicle-stimulating hormone, which controls ovary function.
A doctor may also request an ultrasound scan of the pelvis. Specifically, the doctor is looking to see how thick the lining of the uterus is. Also, they will get images of the: Uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix and ovaries.