Most girls begin to menstruate at about 12 years of age and continue to have a monthly cycle until they reach menopause, which is typically around 52. That means the average woman will have her “period” approximately 480 times over 40 years of her life. Yet, many women don’t understand the miraculous hormonal dance that takes place each month, the luteal phase of their cycle, and the power of progesterone.
Even if you never plan on having children, understanding your menstrual cycle is so important. It can help you pinpoint any irregularities that could indicate conditions like PCOS, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and even ovarian cancer. When you are trying to get pregnant, your luteal phase is one of the most important things you can pay attention to. It provides a wealth of information about your hormonal balance, your cycle regularity, and your ability to conceive.
During the first half of your cycle, Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is produced, signaling your body to start the process of maturing eggs for ovulation. The eggs are contained inside a follicle where they will grow and mature until ovulation occurs. As the eggs grow and the follicles enlarge they produce estrogen. High levels of estrogen release Luteinizing Hormone (produced by the pituitary gland) causes the mature egg to burst from the follicle, and ovulation occurs.
Ovulation marks the end of the follicular phase and the start of the luteal phase. Lasting approximately 14 days, this phase of your cycle is named after the corpus luteum which is what remains of the follicle after the egg is released. The main hormone associated with this stage is progesterone, which is significantly higher during the luteal phase. Progesterone causes the uterine wall to thicken in preparation for a fertilized egg to implant. If no implantation occurs, progesterone levels drop triggering the beginning of the menstrual flow and another monthly cycle.
A luteal phase that is shorter than 12 days may be a concern for women who hope to conceive. Luteal Phase Defect (LPD), occurs when the luteal phase is shorter than normal, progesterone levels are low, or both. When this occurs, the egg may not have sufficient time to implant before progesterone decreases. Simply put, your body requires enough progesterone to sustain a pregnancy. If the corpus luteum dies earlier than 12 days, your body may not produce enough progesterone for a healthy, full-term pregnancy.
Symptoms of Luteal Phase Defect may include:
• More frequent periods
• Difficulty getting pregnant
• Spotting between periods
Luteal Phase Defect has been linked to health conditions including:
• Polycystic ovarian syndrome
• Thyroid disorders
Luteal Phase Defect can occur if your ovaries don’t release enough progesterone and/or if the lining of the uterus does not properly respond to the progesterone. And, ovulation can be delayed by a number of factors, such as stress, increased activity or medication. Many times, simply supplementing with a high quality progesterone cream like Feminine Balance Therapy can address the underlying causes of a Luteal Phase Defect.
For more, please see our Wellness Education article,
Bio-Identical Progesterone Cream for PMS, Infertility, PCOS and More
Medical Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a licensed medical doctor. Organic Excellence does not diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect a mental or physical health condition, please see your healthcare provider.