How to Lengthen Luteal Phase Naturally
One of the first things that come to mind when you think about conception, is ovulation. However, ovulation is just one aspect of the entire process. One of the major phases of your cycle that is responsible for successful conception is the luteal phase. It is a post-ovulatory phase where your body, specifically your uterus is preparing itself for successful implantation of the egg. The hormone responsible for preparing the uterus is called Progesterone.
Image courtesy of The Bright Girl Guide by Demi Spaccavento.
It is released in your body after successful ovulation. The luteal phase that begins after the ovulation lasts for about 12-14 days for with the norm being 14 days. A short phase means that your body has less time to prepare itself for implantation of the egg.
This condition is called luteal phase defect (LPD). Less time to prepare can risk improper implantation and can lead to complications or even a complete lack of implantation. Therefore, a longer phase can help you improve your odds of conception markedly. On the other hand, a shorter phase can hamper your chances of conception considerably as well.
What is a luteal phase defect (LPD)?
LPD is marked by having a lower than average amount of the hormone progesterone during the luteal phase of your cycle. A lower level of progesterone can pose significant challenges for your body to sustain a pregnancy. A recent study concluded that about 18% of women have a shorter luteal phase. It was also concluded in the study that the shorter phase can adversely affect your chances of conceiving. That said, it was not all bad news as the same study also found that only 3% of women have this problem on a recurrent basis.
How do I know whether I have a shorter luteal phase?
If you have a luteal phase that lasts less than 11 days, it can be called an LPD. If you suspect that you might have a shorter luteal phase, a proper medical test can reveal it quite accurately. Another way of keeping a track of your phase length is by charting your cycles. Fertility2Family Ovulation tests and basal body temping can help you track your cycles with ease with a high degree of accuracy and reliability. Our fertility kits measure your fertility hormone levels and give you valuable insights regarding your fertility window. Your doctor may perform a battery of tests if he/she suspects that you might be affected by the LPD. These tests include the determination of various hormone levels including progesterone, Luteinising Hormone, and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). That said, it can be tricky at times to diagnose LPD defects accurately.
However, certain signs and symptoms might help the diagnosis. Some of these include multiple miscarriages early on, menstrual cycles that are significantly shorter and a little bit of spotting between the ovulation phase and menses all these symptoms generally arise due to a deficiency in the levels of progesterone hormone, in women with luteal phase defect.
What are the reasons for the short luteal phase?
The immediate reason for having a shorter luteal phase is low levels of progesterone. That said, some health problems may contribute to this deficiency as well. Some of these issues include:
Being overweight or obese
Having Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Too much exercise or exertion
In some studies, shorter luteal phases were also associated with smoking. It is a known fact that smoking can significantly reduce your estrogen levels which can contribute to the deficiency of progesterone.
How to fix a shorter luteal phase?
The treatment of a short luteal phase depends on the root cause of the deficiency of progesterone. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) supplements have been successfully used o treat the condition in some cases. hCG supplementation causes the body to release more progesterone thereby helping to increase the luteal phase. In some cases, the doctor may even prescribe progesterone itself to counter the deficiency. Progesterone is available in a variety of dosage forms including oral, rectal, and injectables as well. However, progesterone supplementation is not without its unwanted side effects. Some of the untoward effects of artificial progesterone supplementation may include abdominal cramps, bloating, headaches, nausea, fatigue, and even diarrhea. In some cases, these side effects can be quite off-putting for some women and they might seek some alternative solution.
How to increase the luteal phase naturally?
There is no shortage of natural methods to lengthen your luteal phase without artificial hormone therapies. Changing your lifestyle, diet and mental outlook can greatly help in lengthening the luteal phase. Herbal remedies, essential oils, and some vitamin supplements are quite effective. Here are some of the natural ways to lengthen your luteal phase:
It is a water-soluble vitamin that can be of great help in lengthening your luteal phase naturally. Vitamin C is known to improve the thickness of the endometrial lining of your uterus and some studies have linked it with an increase in progesterone levels as well. Citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, and lemons are rich in this vitamin, and including these in your regular diet may help you to lengthen your luteal phase. Many over-the-counter supplements can also help a great deal.
Healthy Fertility Diet
Diet also plays a vital role in controlling your menstrual cycle. Including foods rich in vitamin C regularly in your diet may help lengthen your luteal phase. Some of the foods that are chock-full of vitamin C are: Leafy greens, strawberries, pineapples, Plums, Broccoli
Many delicious smoothie recipes include these foods you can try. Herbal supplements are also often used to lengthen the luteal phase naturally. One of the most popular supplements in Australia is Vivalex. Vivalex Reproductive Blend has been shown to assist with regulating menstrual cycles, ovulation & function and increasing egg quality. You should let your healthcare provider know if you are planning to use such supplements.
Stress can also be a very important factor affecting your luteal phase durations as well. Managing stress can help greatly in increasing the luteal phase duration.
Some of the ways you can deal with stress include:
Alternative therapies such as acupressure and acupuncture Essential oils can also help to relieve stress.
A shorter luteal phase can hamper your chances of getting pregnant greatly. Make sure that you speak to your doctor to understand your condition properly and seek help in managing it. Planning a proper diet, regular exercising, tracking your cycle keeping the stress levels low are some of the natural ways to increase the luteal phase, which will lead to you getting your positive pregnancy test.