Luteal Phase Defectby Lori Ramsey
Luteal phase defect (LPD) is a luteal phase of less than ten days. The luteal phase is the time between ovulation and menstruation. It's the progesterone production time in the cycle. Ideally, this needs to be around 12 to 14 days. Realistically, a good luteal phase could be between 10 and 17 days - with the norm at 14 days. When the luteal phase falls below 10 days - and some doctors believe that if it falls below 12 days - then there is a problem.
The good news is that luteal phase defects are easily treated with supplements and/or with prescription drugs. And most of the time can be treated without the use of invasive drugs. I advise everyone to seek the advice of their physician or nutritionist before taking any supplements I recommend.
My own experience with luteal phase defects has been easily remedied. When I began charting in March of 1999, my luteal phase was 9 days. I was breastfeeding my 15 month old daughter at the time and fully believe this was the cause. However, knowing that women can get pregnant while breastfeeding, I began to take 63 mg of vitamin B6 a day. This increased my luteal phase, the very cycle I took the B6, to 11 days. I kept up with the regimen and by May my luteal phase increased to 12 days. I weaned my daughter in July at 19 months - figuring that the breastfeeding was indeed keeping me infertile. I did get pregnant the following cycle, only to end in miscarriage - a chemical pregnancy. My luteal phase *seemed* to jump to 14 days, when indeed I was actually pregnant. The following cycle my luteal phase increased to 13 days and I assumed that it was from the absence of breastfeeding. However, to help prevent further early miscarriages, I began using progesterone cream, and this increased my luteal phase to a whopping 15 days.
A luteal phase below 10 days cannot sustain a pregnancy. This is because not enough progesterone is being produced. If a woman were to get pregnant with a luteal phase defect, she would more than likely miscarry. If a doctor finds a luteal phase defect, s/he will probably prescribe progesterone. This can be in the form of pills, or the more popular suppositories. These are taken after ovulation has occurred and either taken for anywhere from 2 past ovulation to, sometimes, the 10th to 12th week of pregnancy - should one occur.
I found it very easy to lengthen my luteal phase with vitamin B6 and progesterone cream. There are some who feel the progesterone cream doesn't do anything; however, in my belief it does help. My luteal phase increased from 13 to 15 days while using the cream. I use a cream with natural progesterone in it called Emerita Progest Cream. I use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon twice a day after ovulation on my inner arm, inner thighs, belly, chest and neck - alternating the locations each time. The cream will not halt menstruation from occurring, if pregnancy is not achieved. I use the cream to 16 days post ovulation, when my menstruation starts.
If you think you have a luteal phase defect--you find out through charting and knowing the exact day of ovulation--the measures to take to correct the deficiency are up to you. I personally did not ask my doctor before taking the vitamin B6 or the progesterone cream; however, it would be smart to seek their advice first.Lori Ramsey is a freelance writer and mother of three children.
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