Lutueal Phase Defect (LPD)

The luteal phase is the time between ovulation and the start of the next menstrual cycle. If a woman has a luteal phase defect, her body does not have enough time between ovulation (when mature eggs are released) and menstruation to thicken the lining of the uterus. This is because the woman does not produce a sufficient amount of progesterone to allow a fertilized egg to implant. This is a broad diagnosis that can mean many things.

Symptoms

Basal body temperature (BBT) readings can be helpful when a luteal phase defect is suspected. Endometrial biopsies can also diagnose this. If ovulation is documented and the next period comes less than 14 days later, then a luteal phase defect may be the cause, however it is an easy condition to misdiagnose.

Cause

LPD is thought to be caused by hormonal imbalances. This can result in poor follicle development, inadequate production of progesterone by the corpus luteum, and/or failure of the uterine lining to respond. Progesterone helps thicken the lining of the uterus in preparation for a fertilized egg to implant. When progesterone levels are insufficient, chances of conception are greatly reduced.

Treatment

In order to provide luteal support, your physician may prescribe progesterone supplements, also called progestins. These drugs help to develop and maintain the uterine lining during the second half of your cycle. These drugs are typically used in combination with assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).


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