Luteal phase defect (LPD) is a frustrating condition that can prevent pregnancy or make it difficult to remain pregnant. Fortunately, for prospective parents in the Houston, TX area, Dr. Sonja B. Kristiansen provides infertility testing to identify problematic factors and help to overcome them. Here, we will discuss luteal phase defect treatment at the Houston Fertility Center, and how it can help our patients achieve a successful pregnancy.
What Is Luteal Phase Defect?
The luteal phase is the third stage of the menstrual cycle, and occurs between ovulation and the beginning of a woman’s period. This phase is crucial, as it is when fertilization and implantation occurs. During the luteal phase, the uterine lining grows thicker in preparation for possible pregnancy. If the luteal phase is interrupted, or if it lasts less than 12 days, then the uterine lining may not have enough time to properly develop, making it difficult to become or remain pregnant.
Symptoms of Luteal Phase Defect
A luteal phase defect may occur if the ovaries do not release a sufficient amount of progesterone. For example, if progesterone levels do not increase enough after ovulation or if they decrease too soon before menstruation, it can result in a shortened luteal phase. In addition to progesterone levels, these indicators can also suggest that a luteal phase defect is present:
- A short menstrual cycle
- More frequent periods
- Spotting between periods
- Difficulty becoming pregnant
- One or more miscarriages
- Interrupted basal body temperatures following ovulation
- Back pain, loose stools, or bleeding during the luteal phase
Diagnosis of Luteal Phase Defect
Although there is currently no test that can pinpoint a luteal phase defect exclusively, there are certain analyses that can indicate its presence. Blood tests may be recommended to measure your hormone levels, such as progesterone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone. Additionally, a pelvic ultrasound can be performed to assess the thickness of your uterine lining.
Luteal Phase Defect Treatment
Women who are trying to become pregnant may benefit from certain therapies. These can include:
- Estrogen Modulator: Clomiphene citrate, or Clomid, can trigger the production of more follicles, which release eggs.
- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG): This hormone can help trigger ovulation and produce increased levels of progesterone.
- Progesterone Treatment: Pills, injections, or suppositories may be recommended following ovulation to encourage the growth of your uterine lining.
In addition to the aforementioned therapies, many researchers believe that certain lifestyle changes can increase hormone levels and fertility. Some recommendations include:
- Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): Many women are deficient in essential fatty acids, which aid in hormone production. Foods rich in EFAs include walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and several types of fish, such as halibut, shrimp, and salmon.
- Vitamin C: Some experts believe Vitamin C increases fertility. Foods rich in Vitamin C include broccoli, strawberries, and oranges, among many others.
- Vitamin B6: Helpful in balancing hormones within the body, Vitamin B6 can be taken via a supplement. It can also be found naturally in bananas, leafy green vegetables, turkey, salmon, and liver.
- Cholesterol from Healthy Sources: Healthy fats are important for hormone production. Sources of clean cholesterol include whole milk yogurt and kefir, coconut oil, free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, milk, and butter.
- Antioxidants: Necessary for a balanced and healthy diet, antioxidants are a well-known benefit for women trying to conceive.
Learn More about Luteal Phase Defect Treatment
To learn more about infertility testing and treatments, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kristiansen, contact a team member online. You can also call our Houston office at (713) 862-6181 or our Sugar Land office at (713) 225-5375.