To achieve conception would require both man and woman to be physically healthy. However, even that is not enough. You need to be fertile. For a female, when you have an LH surge or a critical rise in the level of your luteinizing hormone (LH), it triggers ovulation and hopefully an upcoming pregnancy. In males, and LH surge stimulates the production of testosterone.
When that doesn’t happen, you could have a luteal phase defect.
What is a Luteal Phase?
A luteal phase is the period in a woman’s cycle between ovulation and menstruation. For a pregnant woman, during the luteal phase, the egg that has been fertilized by the sperm will start its journey from the fallopian tube and into the uterus where it will implant itself. The luteal phase normally occurs for 14 days but on average, it can actually happen for 10 to 17 days long.
What is a Luteal Phase Defect?
As mentioned, the average number of days for a normal luteal phase to occur is 10 to 17 days. However, if it is only 10 days or shorter, it is considered as a luteal phase defect. In fact, many medical practitioners consider a 12-day luteal phase as a problem. If you succeed to conceive but have a luteal phase defect, you will experience an early miscarriage.
A woman’s uterus has a lining that thickens and breaks down and is released from the body every month in the form of blood through the menstrual cycle if she doesn’t get pregnant around that time. If a woman has a luteal phase defect, her reproductive system cannot sustain pregnancy because her uterine lining breaks down, causing a menstrual bleeding leading to an early miscarriage. One main culprit that has been pointed out as precursor to a luteal phase defect is low progesterone levels.
What are the causes of Luteal Phase Defects?
There are three main contributing factors as to why luteal phase defects occur including poor production of follicles, premature end of the corpus luteum and inability of the uterine lining to react against normal progesterone levels. To fully understand these causes, here are some brief descriptions:
- Poor production of follicles – A cause for a luteal phase defect is when a woman is unable to produce normal level of FSH or an abnormality in the ovary is preventing her to respond normally to FSH. Poor follicle production will eventually lead the uterus to be unprepared for the implantation of a fertilized embryo. That is why progesterone levels will drop and menstruation occurs earlier, thereby leading to a luteal phase defect.
- The corpus luteum ends or fails prematurely – There are women whose corpus luteum does not keep up for as long as necessary to aid in the process of conception. In this case, even if there is initially an adequate level of progesterone, it may critically drop after five to seven days. Again, an early menstruation will occur and hence a luteal phase defect.
- Inability of the uterine lining to respond normally – This luteal phase defect occurs during follicle development and the persistence of the corpus luteum to survive throughout an ideal amount of time. However, the uterine lining does not react to the normal levels of progesterone. As a result, when the embryo arrives and tries to attach itself to the uterus, its lining is not ready and the implantation of the embryo will possibly unsuccessful.
What are some treatments to correct luteal phase defects?
To know whether you may have a luteal phase defect, have yourself examined by a physician or you can simply keep a fertility chart to record your fertility cycle. In case where you have indeed been diagnosed with a luteal phase defect and are having trouble achieving pregnancy, there are over the counter remedies that you can take or apply to help correct the defect such as vitamin B6 and progesterone cream. You can apply the cream in your arms, thighs, neck and chest.
There are also prescription drugs to treat luteal phase defects such as Chlomid or progesterone suppositories.
If you are suffering from infertility due to luteal phase defects, there are treatments available for you such as infertility natural treatment, IVF and IUI.
There are many factors that cause infertility and you must not be careless in making your choice of fertility treatments. Proper assessment and advice from your doctor will help you resolve any infertility issue that you and your partner are currently facing.