What Is a Short Luteal Phase and What are the Risks?



The luteal phase is the portion of a woman’s monthly cycle that occurs between ovulation and menstruation. When a woman becomes pregnant, the luteal phase is an integral part of conception. During the luteal phase the fertilized egg travels from the fallopian tube and into the uterus, where it implants. The luteal phase typically will last for around fourteen days on average, although it may last anywhere from ten to seventeen days. If your luteal phase is shorter than 12 days, it is known as having a short luteal phase or luteal phase defect. Women who have a short luteal phase typically will have a miscarriage.

A woman who has a short luteal phase has difficulty sustaining a pregnancy because the uterine lining in these women begins to break down, bringing on the menstrual bleeding and causing an early miscarriage. Many different things can cause a short luteal phase. The biggest cause for a short luteal phase is having low levels of the hormone progesterone. If you have a short luteal phase and it causes a miscarriage, your health care provider may wish to do a progesterone test just after ovulation to help figure out how short your luteal phase is.

There are several ways to combat a short luteal phase and thereby keep it from causing a miscarriage. There are at least two different over-the-counter remedies for a short luteal phase. The first of these is vitamin B6. This vitamin is considered safe for most women, and is taken in doses from 50 to 200 mg a day. The second over-the-counter remedy for a short luteal phase is progesterone creme. This cream is thought to lengthen the luteal phase. In terms of prescription medications, Clomid is often used, as are progesterone suppositories.

If you believe that you may have had a miscarriage due to having a short luteal phase, you should contact your health care provider. She may be able to diagnose and effectively treat your short luteal phase.


Last modified: February 10, 2013