The menstrual cycle comprises four phases in the following order: menstruation when the woman’s monthly period or bleeding occurs. Preovulation is when the hormone estrogen is produced that matures the ovum, ovulation, where it moves the mature ovum from the ovary to the uterus through the fallopian tubes, and finally, the postovulation, where the involuted ovum prepares to be expelled during menstruation.
The luteal phase begins just after ovulation, and its primary function is the creation of the corpus luteum, which is responsible for the secretion of the hormone progesterone. The short luteal phase is a failure or interruption of this part of the cycle that can intervene in the woman’s fertility. This FastlyHealarticle will explain the short luteal stage: causes, symptoms, and treatment.
What is the short luteal phase?
The luteal phase is the process by which, after ovulation, the female body creates a yellow tissue in the ovary, which is rich in cholesterol and is called the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum secretes progesterone, a hormone that prepares the endometrium to receive the embryo and nourishes it until the placenta is generated. The luteal phase has an expected duration of between 10 and 16 days. When the time of this process is shorter, it is called a short luteal phase or luteal insufficiency.
When this occurs, progesterone production in the corpus luteum is very brief, which increases the risk of miscarriage or infertility. Why? Because the hormone progesterone, which is at normal production levels after ovulation, suffers a sudden drop that generates menstruation between nine or fewer days following ovulation. So, as the embryo requires at least 6 or 10 days to implant and there is a shortage of progesterone, it becomes impossible for the endometrium to mature and the fertilized egg to implant.
The causes of the short luteal phase can be:
- Hyperprolactinemia or abnormal or excessive production of the hormone prolactin.
- Abnormality in the secretion or production of hormones produced by the pituitary gland is known as gonadotropins.
- Women over 35 years of age are more likely to suffer from a short luteal phase.
Symptoms of short luteal phase
Very few women experience symptoms from corpus luteum deficiency. Most women with this condition find out they have a short luteal phase when they start trying to conceive. Why? Because difficulty getting pregnant is one of the main signs of luteal deficiency.
Yes, some symptoms can help determine if a woman has problems with the luteal phase, but to recognize these signs, the woman must keep an exact count of her ovulation periods that allow her to determine:
- Bleeding during the days of the cycle when the luteal phase occurs.
- Luteal phase days less than 9.
The most obvious signs are:
- Low levels of progesterone in the blood.
- Miscarriage or difficulty getting pregnant.
- Infertility or sterility.
How Short Luteal Phase Is Diagnosed
To diagnose the short luteal phase, specialists usually perform an endometrial biopsy two days before menstruation. This test consists of removing a small sample of the uterus tissue, a procedure that can be carried out with or without anesthesia and is performed through a speculum.
The sample taken will be taken to the laboratory, where the tissue cells will be analyzed to determine the result. This test allows determining if there is a delay in developing more than two days in two different cycles in the endometrium, which indicates a short luteal phase. Therefore, diagnosis requires at least two biopsies to corroborate the delay.
Treatment of short luteal phase
Treating the short luteal phase will depend on the cause of the condition. But, in general, all treatments include progesterone inputs to counteract the deficiency and thus improve infertility problems. It is important to note that the medicine must be administered before ovulation and even up to 13 weeks of gestation when you want to get pregnant. Some ways to treat corpus luteum deficiency are:
- Oral. Progesterone capsules are administered, but their use is severely limited due to the secondary symptoms they cause: sedation, nausea, redness, and fluid retention.
- Vaginal. It is the most common alternative to treat the short luteal phase. Progesterone is given through suppositories, capsules, or gel, and treatment should begin between the second or third day after the temperature rises.
- Intramuscular. It is one of the least preferred applications due to the pain caused by the supply due to the oily condition of the liquid.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, your gynecologist will recommend the most appropriate type of treatment for your condition.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.