The luteal phase lasts around 11 to 17 days. It runs from the time of ovulation to the beginning of menstruation. During the so-called luteal phase, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels increase. In the luteal phase, implantation of an embryo in the lining of the uterus is possible.
Everything at a glance
Luteal phase - what is it?
The luteal phase is part of your menstrual cycle. It is also known as the luteal phase or the secretory phase. It takes place in the second half of the cycle and usually lasts 11 to 17 days.
This happens during the secretion phase
At the beginning of the phase is ovulation. The Graaf follicle is expelled from the fallopian tube. This follicle is a sac-shaped cell that contains the egg cell. As progesterone levels rise, the lining of the uterus thickens and thickens. It is thus possible to receive an embryo if fertilization occurs. If fertilization does not take place, the luteal phase ends with the start of the period.
The average duration of the luteal phase is 14 days. It does not depend on the length of your cycle. If you want to have children, it is important that the luteal phase runs “normally”, because only then are the hormones available in the amount that is necessary for implantation and growth of an egg.
In the luteal phase, the corpus luteum is important. This endocrine gland forms during ovulation. It develops from the empty eggshell (ovarian follicle) and disintegrates within about 14 days if fertilization has not occurred. The decay initiates the period.
With fertilization, the endocrine gland remains in the uterine cavity and develops into the gestational corpus luteum. Scientists refer to this gestational corpus luteum as the corpus luteum gravidicum. The corpus luteum now produces more progesterone, which results in increased blood flow to the lining of the uterus and the corpus luteum can implant itself. After the first three months of pregnancy, the corpus luteum disappears because the placenta takes over from this point onwards.
Progesterone – the most important hormone
The hormone progesterone is the most important hormone during the luteal phase. The corpus luteum and the adrenal glands produce this hormone, for which the corpus luteum uses cholesterol as a building block. Without conception, following ovulation, the corpus luteum degrades and progesterone levels drop. Then the menstrual bleeding starts.
With conception, the corpus luteum produces more progesterone, causing the cervical mucus to become more viscous and dense. This blocks sperm and protects the uterus. Now a fertilized egg cell can implant itself.
Progesterone prevents labor during pregnancy by reducing uterine contractions. In addition, the hormone has a muscle-relaxing effect, so that intestinal activity is slowed down.
How long does the phase last?
On average, the luteal phase lasts 14 days. The duration is independent of your cycle. An average duration indicates a healthy body. Normally the duration does not change.
Too long or too short luteal phase? These are possible causes
If your luteal phase lasts longer than 17 days, it may be due to PCOS or another hormonal imbalance. A long luteal phase can also indicate pregnancy.
If the luteal phase lasts 10 days or less, the luteal phase is said to be too short. In this case, the time for the development of the uterine lining is not enough for the implantation of the egg. This is due to low progesterone levels. This often makes it harder to get pregnant and harder to maintain. A short luteal phase is usually noticeable in a short menstrual cycle and spotting.
A luteal disorder can have different causes. It is often due to these reasons:
- luteal insufficiency – In this case, the development of the corpus luteum is weakened, which means that the production of progesterone is too low.
- Thyroid Disorders – The thyroid gland is important for the release of hormones. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can lead to a short luteal phase and irregular ovulation.
- PCOS – Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common hormonal disorder. It is characterized by symptoms such as absent or irregular menstruation and often by obesity.
- eating disorder and other external causes - eating disorders, sleep disorders, underweight, overweight, stress and competitive sports have an impact on the release of hormones. This can lengthen or shorten your cycle. In some cases, the period stops completely.
- Age – Fertility decreases with age. From the age of 35 it is more difficult to get pregnant.
How to prolong the luteal phase
If your luteal phase lasts less than 10 days, you can try various measures to lengthen the phase. Optimal progesterone levels are important for this and you have a few options available. Talk to your gynecologist about the following ways they can help you with:
- Thyroid treatment (in case of dysfunction)
- Cure with vitamin C
- Progesterone Supplementation
- progesterone cream
- hormone treatment
Pregnancy: The importance for your desire to have children
Luteal insufficiency is when the luteal phase is too short. Another name is luteal weakness because the corpus luteum cannot develop sufficiently. As a result, too little progesterone is produced so that an embryo cannot implant itself in the lining of the uterus. If implantation does occur, the risk of miscarriage is very high.
The following symptoms can indicate luteal insufficiency, although not all symptoms have to appear at the same time:
- The second half of the cycle lasts less than 10 days.
- A basal body temperature that rises too slowly or in sections – it would normally rise steeply after ovulation.
- Strong PMS symptoms appear.
- Intermenstrual bleeding occurs in the second half of the cycle.
- Early miscarriages can also be a sign.
Symptoms in the luteal phase
- Your basal temperature (body temperature) increases by 0,3 to 0,5 degrees.
- Because of the hormone change, there may be an increase in appetite.
- The discharge is more fluid and heavier just before ovulation.
- After ovulation, the discharge is more viscous.
What can I do about PMS?
PMS is not a normal part of the luteal phase. There are several measures that can help you with PMS. For example, the dietary supplement håvsund Harmony helpful. It consists of natural ingredients that can contribute to hormonal balance. This product contains, among other things, chaste tree, lady's mantle, St. John's wort and saffron blossoms. The gluten-free and vegan capsules are easy to swallow. They are manufactured in Germany and checked in certified laboratories.
You can also do the following to reduce PMS symptoms:
- Ensure adequate sleep
- Reduce stress
- Physical exercise such as walking, yoga or swimming
- A balanced diet
- Foods containing magnesium such as nuts, dried fruits and grains
- Avoid sugar and caffeine
- Place hot water bottle or heating pad on lower back or stomach
3 tips in the luteal phase
- Balanced nutrition: During the luteal phase, your body needs more energy. At the same time, you can prevent PMS with a balanced diet. Therefore, you should eat foods rich in magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B. Herbal tea is recommended instead of coffee. Avoid fast food, sugary foods and alcohol during this phase. In addition, the diet should be high in fiber because the elevated levels of progesterone can trigger constipation.
- Moderate exercise: Your performance is reduced in the luteal phase. Therefore, you should exercise moderately and not do any intense sport during this time. Walks, light strength training or Pilates or yoga are good for your body.
- Adequate sleep: It is healthy if you sleep 7 to 8 hours every night. In order for you to fall asleep well, you should no longer look at a screen in the evening. The artificial light from smartphones, tablets and the like has a negative effect on the hormone melatonin. It inhibits melatonin production, which deprives you of sleep.
How do I calculate my luteal phase?
If you want to get pregnant, determining the luteal phase is important. The calculation allows you to determine whether the phase is of normal duration or too short. In the following calculation we assume a cycle with a duration of 28 days. In this case, the luteal phase begins on the 15th day. It ends on the 28th day with the start of the period. The luteal phase lasts 14 days. This is the average length of the luteal phase.
If your cycle is shorter and lasts 21 days, ovulation will start on the seventh day. Your luteal phase then runs from the eighth day of the cycle to the 21st day.
If you have a long cycle, you also start from the first day of your period. Now subtract 14 days from that date.
Causes of luteal insufficiency
One of the possible causes is the PCO syndrome, which leads to insufficient follicle maturation. Other possible causes are:
- Ovarian failure (insufficient production of the hormones LH and FSH)
- Birth control pills
- Bowel disease
- thyroid disorders
- pancreatic disease
- disease of the adrenal gland
The one at the Luteal Deficiency Existing progesterone deficiency can often be remedied with hormone treatment. A preparation that consists primarily of natural progesterone is often used. For example, yam contains diosgenin. This active ingredient can be used to produce progesterone that is similar to the body's own hormone.
A common drug is clomiphene, which boosts the production of LH and FSH. Plasters, creams or capsules containing progesterone are also used. All preparations that contain progesterone require a prescription.
However, there are also plants that can be used as a supplement. For example, chaste tree is a proven remedy for an unfulfilled desire to have children. The ingredients bring the hormonal balance into balance, which is said to increase fertility.