Luteal Phase Defect (LPD) and Infertility
The Luteal Phase is the time period beginning with the day after ovulation and running through the remainder of your menstrual cycle (ending the day before your next period). Typically, the duration of the luteal phase phase lasts between 10 and 16 days - and is generally consistent from cycle to cycle, averaging for most women at 14 days or so.
The luteal phase begins the day following ovulation. It lasts through the remainder of the menstrual cycle. In the "Trying to Conceive" (TTC) Community, the luteal phase is also referred to as the LP, and it can be measured in "DPO" - or "days past ovulation". At the onset of the luteal phase, a woman's body temperature increases (basal body temperature) in order to provide a fertile environment for the ovum.
A luteal phase defect (LPD) is defined as a short luteal phase (a regular luteal phase of under 10 days is considered to a be a luteal phase defect). Luteal phase defects may decrease the chances of conception and/or increase the chances of miscarriage.
A luteal phase defect causes infertility because the endometrium and uterine lining may begin to deteriorate, causing issues with successful implantation of the egg or early menstrual bleeding (which may lead to a miscarriage). The dominant cause of a luteal phase defect is hormonal imbalance - and more specifically the insufficient production of progesterone. Progesterone maintains the endometrium/uterine lining during the luteal phase and increases body temperature to create a fertile environment for the embryo. In a luteal phase defect, an embryo may attempt to implant in the uterus and implantation will fail, or it implantation may take place (there is a "chemical pregnancy") followed by miscarriage.
Using a basal thermometer, you can determine the length of your LP by fertility charting. Simply calculate the length of time between ovulation (the day of the basal temperature increase) and the day before the first day of menstrual bleeding. This is your luteal phase length.
Natural progesterone and vitamin B6 are over-the-counter remedies for a luteal phase defect (though you may wish to consult with your doctor regarding the best treatment path for this infertility issue). Other supplements like FertilAid and Fertilityblend have been shown to improve hormonal balance in regulating ovulation and the length of the luteal phase. Prescription drugs for luteal phase defect include clomid or progesterone.
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