Short Luteal Phase

Common Fertility Problems
Key Points

  • Luteal phase lasts between 12 and 14 days.
  • There are several causes of male infertility.
  • Treatment depends on the cause of short luteal phase.

The Female Cycles

The female reproductive system has two cycles: the ovarian cycle and the uterine cycle. The ovarian cycle refers to the development and release of the egg and changes in the follicles. It comprises the follicular phase, ovulation and luteal phase.

The uterine cycle describes the preparation of the inner lining of the uterus for implantation and shedding of this lining when implantation has failed. These cycles happen at the same time and depend on each other.

The cycle begins with the first day of bleeding, which is counted as day 1 of Follicular Phase. The cycle ends just before the next menstrual period.
Menstrual cycles normally range from about 25 to 36 days. Only 10 to 15% of women have cycles that are exactly 28 days. In at least 20% of women, cycles are irregular. That is, they are longer or shorter than the normal range. Usually, the cycles vary the most and the intervals between periods are longest in the years immediately after menstruation starts (menarche) and before menopause.

Luteal Phase

The luteal phase occurs after ovulation. Once the egg is released, it travels to the fallopian tube where it waits to be fertilized by the sperm. At the same time, the follicle becomes a corpus luteum and starts producing oestrogen and progesterone. Progesterone thickens the lining of the uterus so that a fertilized egg can implant. Blood vessels grow inside the lining. These vessels will supply oxygen and nutrients to the developing embryo.

If the egg is fertilized and implants in the endometrium, your body will start to produce human gonadotropin (hCG) which is a hormone that maintains the corpus luteum and enables it to continue producing progesterone. By the 10th week of pregnancy, the placenta takes over the progesterone production. During pregnancy, progesterone levels will continue increasing:

  • first trimester: 10 to 44 ng/mL
  • second trimester: 19 to 82 ng/mL
  • third trimester: 65 to 290 ng/mL

Short Luteal Phase

The luteal phase lasts between 12 and 14 days. Your luteal phase is short if it lasts less than 10 days. If you are monitoring your cycle with myLotus, you have a short luteal phase if your period happens 10 days or less after you ovulate. A short luteal phase can result in uterus lining that doesn’t grow properly and make it difficult to become or remain pregnant.

Symptoms of short luteal phase include:
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Repeated miscarriages
  • Spotting between periods
  • Short menstrual cycles

Causes of Short Luteal Phase

A short luteal phase is often the result of the corpus luteum not producing enough progesterone or the lining of the uterus not responding to the hormone produced. There are some conditions which have been associated with short luteal phases:
  • Anorexia
  • Obesity
  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Hyperprolactinemia
  • Extreme physical activity
  • Aged over 35

Treatment of Short Luteal Phase

Treatment of short luteal phase depends on the underlying cause. When the cause is identified, it is possible to address the short luteal phase and improve chances of conception and pregnancy.

Treatment may include improving weight, correcting thyroid imbalances, promoting ovulation with medication (to have a stronger corpus luteum), or taking progesterone supplements.
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