Luteal Phase Defect (LPD)
A luteal phase defect or deficiency (LPD) occurs when the luteal phase is shorter than normal (12 days or less between ovulation and onset of menstruation), progesterone levels are low, and/or the endometrium fails to respond to otherwise normal levels of progesterone.
Your luteal phase is the time from ovulation to when your period starts. A normal luteal phase is 14 days long, which allows enough time for a fertilized egg to implant and signal your body that it’s there. A luteal phase that is 12 days or less is too short for this to happen and the uterine lining begins to slough off before the fertilized egg has been able to implant and start the hormonal signaling necessary for pregnancy.
LPD is a common abnormality of the menstrual cycle, occurring in between 3-10 percent of infertile women. However, it’s significance as a disease is controversial and there is widespread disagreement about it’s prevalence, diagnosis and treatment.
The cause of LPD is thought to be multifactoral, involving abnormal follicle development, inadequate lutenizing hormone, low secretions of progesterone by the corpus luteum, and/or an abnormal response by the endometrium.
Western medicine diagnoses LPD by repeated mid-luteal progesterone blood tests or an endometrial biopsy. Treatment includes focusing on improving follicle development with clomid or human menopause gondotropin injections, and/or supporting progesterone production with vaginal or intramuscular progesterone or human chorionic gonadotropin.
Chinese medicine has treated LPD according to traditional disease categories such as abnormal bleeding or a short cycle. So some patients will present to my office with a diagnosis of LPD, but more often they complain of a history of premenstrual spotting (LPD is one of the possible causes of this) and/or difficulty conceiving. LPD may also present without premenstrual spotting. Chinese medicine uses the BBT chart as a means for diagnosis of LPD. An abnormal BBT chart for two months confirms the diagnosis. Chinese medicine looks at a luteal phase defect as an imbalance of the whole cycle, not just the luteal phase. The phases of the menstrual cycle happen as a result of yang energy transforming into yin energy and vice versa depending on the phase. The luteal phases is governed by yang energy which develops from yin energy in the follicular phase. The transformation of yin to yang happens through the movement of qi and blood at ovulation. An interruption in the flow at any point in the cycle can show up as a luteal phase defect. Acupuncture treatments and tailored herbal formulas are adapted for each patient based on the different Chinese medical diagnoses, which along with any treatment suggested by the patient’s doctor can significantly improve or correct a luteal phase defect.
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Eastern Bench is a reputable wellness clinic in the Salt Lake area with a specialty in natural fertility and IVF support. We are very dedicated to providing high quality holistic care to our clients. To set up an appointment, please call (385)279-2410 or request an appointment online. We offer free 15 minute consultations to those who would like to learn more about our treatment options. Please contact us by submitting this form if you should have any additional questions.
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