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The Luteal Cycle

When you’re trying to get pregnant, you’ll hear a lot about the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle. This is the first stage, when your body matures an egg to be released and, potentially, fertilised. Without an egg to fertilise you can’t get pregnant, so it makes sense that this phase gets a lot of attention, but the second half of your cycle, after you ovulate, is equally important.

Today we’re taking a look at the Luteal Cycle, explaining what it is, how it works, and why it’s key to your fertility.

What is the Luteal Cycle?

Your menstrual cycle begins on the first day of your period. At the same, your follicular cycle begins, and your ovaries begin to mature eggs for potential ovulation.

Ovulation forms the midpoint of your menstrual cycle – the moment it’s been building up to, and afterwards your body shifts its focus. Now that egg has been released, your hormones cue your uterus to develop a thick linking the egg can implant in if its fertilised.

How Does it Work?

After the egg is released, the remains of the follicle it developed in grow into a temporary endocrine structure (a short-lived part of your hormone system) called the ‘corpus luteum’. This ‘redirects’ the hormones that lead to egg growth, causing a rise in progesterone levels and leading to the development of a thick endometrial lining.

The quality of this lining is as important as the health of your eggs. If it’s not thick enough, a fertilised egg may not be able to implant in it, meaning that you may not become pregnant even if sperm do meet and fertilise that egg.

How Long is the Luteal Phase

As with all parts of the menstrual cycle, the length of the Luteal Phase can vary from woman to woman – there is no fixed ‘right length’, though there is a threshold beneath which you see difficulties with implantation. The luteal phase normally lasts around two weeks, tends to be less subject to variation than the follicular phase. If yours is regularly shorter than ten days, you may experience difficulty getting pregnant, due to a thinner lining and a lower level of the hormone Progesterone, which builds up over the course of the Luteal Phase.

Treatment

The treatment for a short luteal phase depends on what causes it: it could be as simple as a supplement to top up some of the key nutrients that help to regulate your menstrual cycle. If there are other reasons you’re not producing enough oestrogen, your doctor may prescribe human chorionic gonadotropin supplements, which can stimulate higher oestrogen levels, improving your chance of pregnancy by lengthening the luteal phase.

To learn more about your cycle and hear from Ovusense customers visit ovusense