A luteal phase defect is a menstrual cycle abnormality where low progesterone levels in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle result in delayed development of the endometrium. This deficiency of progesterone in the luteal phase is more often termed “oestrogen dominance”. Oestrogen dominance is thought to affect 3-5% of infertile women and up to 5% of women with a history of repeated miscarriage, and yet may be present in as many as 30% of all women.
Symptoms of a luteal phase defect include a short or irregular menstrual cycle, PMS, menorrhagia, infertility and/or menstrual spotting. Blood serum progesterone level of lower than 10ng/mL one week prior to the start of menstruation and/or one week after the mid-cycle Luteinising Hormone surge is generally accepted as a diagnosis of luteal phase defect.
As the menstrual cycle is under the synchronised control of all the reproductive hormones, a simple lack of progesterone in the luteal phase is unlikely to be an isolated event. It is more likely due to a defect in the follicular phase with subsequent poor follicular development. This results in the inability of the corpus luteum to produce adequate progesterone in the second half of the woman’s menstrual cycle.
In a healthy menstrual cycle, high levels of Follicle Stimulating Hormone in the follicular phase ensure follicular development and the Lutenising Hormone and oestrogen surge mid-cycle mediates ovulation. This in turn allows the corpus luteum to form and progesterone production to occur as it should in the luteal phase. In the luteal phase, the endometrial lining proliferates under the influence of oestrogen and progesterone.
Progesterone, in particular, gives the endometrial lining structure and integrity, and prepares the endometrium for implantation of a fertilised egg. Without adequate progesterone production by the corpus luteum, the endometrium fails to develop properly and pregnancy cannot occur as the embryo cannot attach to the uterine wall. This is why luteal phase defects are associated so strongly with menstrual abnormalities and infertility.
To maintain balance, hormones such as oestrogen need to be excreted via healthy detoxification. This process occurs primarily in the gut and liver. It is also important to support healthy hormone balance both in the follicular phase and the luteal phase. Specific herbal combinations and nutritional remedies may be prescribed by our caring Naturopaths to support a return to a balanced and healthy cycle.
Watch this space for future posts on other conditions in more detail!Disclaimer: The advice on this website is of a general nature only and Nurtura Health expressly disclaims all liability arising out of the improper use of the information provided. Nurtura Health actively discourages any self-diagnosis or self-medication. Please consult your health practitioner regarding these important health issues. All rights reserved.