What is Luteal Phase Length?
The Luteal Phase is a very important part of your menstrual cycle. It begins after ovulation, or the 15th day of your cycle, given a normal 28-day cycle. Here’s a quick tour of what happens in the Luteal Phase.
During the Luteal Phase, the follicle, after releasing the egg during the ovulation phase, develops into a yellow structure called the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum is responsible for producing progesterone and estrogen which are working to thicken the uterine lining (endometrium) where the fertilized egg is nourished. The fertilized egg is now an early embryo (baby as we like to call it) and travels down to the fallopian tube and implants in the uterus. The human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is now present and takes care of the corpus luteum and progesterone production. The uterine lining continues to thicken until the placenta develops, preparing for the embryo’s pillow. In short, you’re pregnant! Your baby is now a few days old.
However, if no fertilization has taken place, then there is nothing to implant, therefore, the corpus luteum weakens, decreasing the progesterone levels. Without progesterone, the endometrium begins to shed its lining, leading to menstruation.
What is the Normal Luteal Phase Length?
Typically, the normal luteal phase length takes about 12 to 16 days. However, for some women, this phase lasts for less than 10 days. But the average is 14 days long.. The major hormone in this phase is progesterone. A luteal phase shorter than 10 days is considered deficient in progesterone and is unable to maintain a pregnancy. There is also a long luteal phase which could sometimes be confused with pregnancy.
How To Calculate Luteal Phase length
How do you calculate Luteal Phase Length? The normal average luteal phase length is 14 days unless you get pregnant. If you want to be precise or if you have an irregular menstrual cycle, hormone specific blood tests are the only way to determine your exact luteal phase length. The Luteal Phase Calculator can help you conveniently calculate your luteal phase length whether you’re menstruating or pregnant. You just need to enter the date of ovulation and the first day of your next menstrual period and it will calculate for you.
Short Luteal Phase
What is the meaning of short luteal phase? What happens when you have one? When the luteal phase lasts for 10 days or less, it is known as a short luteal phase or a luteal phase defect. At this time, progesterone level drops. Symptoms of short luteal phase include: trouble getting pregnant, spotting between periods, miscarriage, and early menstrual cycles. If you have Luteal Phase Deficiency (LPD), having antioxidants and Vitamin C can help lengthen your luteal phase.
Long Luteal Phase or Pregnancy?
Are you mindful of the more minute details of your reproductive cycle? Can you tell the difference between a long luteal phase and conception? Here are a few indicators that can help you identify if you’re actually pregnant or not:
Use ovulation tracking methods.
As one who is excited to have a baby, you would want to monitor your full cycle for a couple of months with the use of ovulation tests and methods; check when your periods start and end. This way, you’ll be fully aware of when each phase will typically begin and be aware if you’re near pregnancy.
Check for implantation bleeding.
Of course, it’s easy to assume a spotting means you’re not pregnant. But you could be up for a surprise to discover that you’re experiencing implantation bleeding which is a very early sign of pregnancy. If you don’t get a full period, chances are, you have conceived.
Feel for tender breasts.
Sore breasts are filled with blood. This happens once the egg is fertilized and hormones flood your body. Hopefully, you would have already known the difference between the sensation you feel during a PMS and pregnancy.
Pay attention to loss of energy.
This feeling of exhaustion and sleepiness are signs of early pregnancy. This is caused by hormonal fluctuations and increased blood volume. Other factors may include anxiety, lack of sleep, and even stress from trying to conceive for a long time.
Causes of Luteal Phase Deficiency
It is helpful to know the possible causes of Luteal Phase Deficiency (LPD) you might be experiencing. Luteal Phase Deficiency (LPD) is manifested by a short luteal phase of fewer than 10 days. The LPD can happen to you if your ovaries don’t release enough progesterone, or if the lining of your uterus fails to respond to the hormone.
Some risky health factors linked to Luteal Phase Deficiency are physiological and psychological conditions like:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Excessive exercise
- Too many milk-producing hormones
- Underactive or overactive thyroid
You may need to consult your gynecologist to check your hormonal levels and perform an ultrasound scan of your pelvis — uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Well, not to worry because it may add to the stress you may already be feeling while trying to conceive. There are measures to increase your Luteal Phase lengths such as ovulation tracking methods, checking your hormone levels and hormone therapy, saliva hormone testing, herbal vitamins. and maybe human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) supplements. But it is wise to consult your gynecologist prior to attempting any major actions.
To make every menstrual cycle an enjoyable or at least a bearable one, paying attention to your body is one of the best things you can do during this time. Since the goal is arriving at a positive pregnancy result, being relaxed and avoiding too much negative stress is a must. Along with this, you will be able to appreciate the details of the luteal phase until you finally reach pregnancy.