The luteal phase is the phase of the menstrual cycle that happens after ovulation. During this second half of a woman’s cycle, hormones are released that help keep the uterine lining healthy and viable. This allows a fertilized egg to implant along the uterus, be properly nourished, and develop into a fetus. Some women experience issues during this part of their cycle, a female fertility problem known as a luteal phase defect (LPD). Houston, TX infertility doctor Dr. Sonja B. Kristiansen has helped countless patients overcome LPDs and start families of their own.
The team at Houston Fertility Center would like to consider the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for LPDs. This should give you a sense of hope if you have struggled to become pregnant.
What Is a Luteal Phase Defect (LPD)?
A luteal phase defect typically involves problems with the endometrial layer of the uterus during the menstrual cycle. The tissue may not be thick enough, or a woman’s luteal phase may be too short to support a fertilized egg.
When this tissue lining does not fully develop or doesn’t last long enough, it cannot possibly support a fertilized egg. The result is a failure to successfully conceive.
Causes of Luteal Phase Defect (LPD)
Hormone imbalances are the most common causes of luteal phase defect. A lack of progesterone is usually the biggest culprit, though other hormone imbalances may also play a role.
Signs and Symptoms of Luteal Phase Defect (LPD)
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of LPD include:
- Abnormal cycle/phase length
- More frequent periods
- Spotting between periods
- Difficulty becoming pregnant
Conditions Associated with Luteal Phase Defect (LPD)
In a number of instances, the LPD is related to another health issue. The following health problems can lead to hormone problems and LPDs:
- Excessive exercise
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Thyroid problems
Addressing the Underlying Cause of Your LPD
If your luteal phase defect is linked to any of the health conditions we listed above, a doctor or fertility specialist may focus on treating that underlying health issue. Treating obesity, anorexia, and thyroid issues can go a long way toward improving your general health in addition to your fertility.
If treating the underlying health problem(s) linked to LPD is ineffective, fertility treatment may then be recommended.
Fertility Treatments for LPD
When directly addressing LPD through infertility treatments, doctors will typically suggest women take certain fertility drugs. These can help improve hormone levels and make pregnancy more likely. Some common fertility drugs that may be prescribed include:
- Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid) - This fertility drug signals your ovaries to stimulate more follicles, which leads to the release of viable eggs.
- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) - hCG can help trigger ovulation, and in the process lead to the release of more progesterone. This helps promote development of a healthy endometrial lining.
- Progesterone Supplements - Whether administered through injections, pills, or suppositories, this additional progesterone can help keep the lining of the uterus healthy.
Learn More About Female Infertility Issues
For more information about treating infertility and improving your chances of becoming pregnant, be sure to contact an experienced fertility specialist. The team at Houston Fertility Center is here to help. You can reach our practice by phone at (713) 862-6181.