A common cause of delay in conception among women today is the Luteal phase defect or Corpus luteum insufficiency.

The Luteal phase defect in a menstrual cycle comes with several negative effects that vary from one woman to another.

For better understanding, we will look at;

a. What happens during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle,

b. What the luteal phase defect is and the corresponding effects

c. And the solutions.

The Luteal phase is also called the Premenstrual phase.

It is the last and final phase of the menstrual cycle.

It starts on ovulation day, in fact the moment the egg is released from the egg follicle,and can occur any day between day 7 and day 22 depending on the length of the menstrual cycle.

Its life span is about 14 days (unless there is fertilization) and ends before the onset of the next menstrual flow.

During the Luteal phase several important things happens in the reproductive life of a woman.

The brief is discussed below.


  1. The level of Luteinizing hormone (LH) and Follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) drops.

Please note –

LH is responsible for the stimulation of egg release during ovulation.

FSH – Stimulates the development of several follicles in the ovaries during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle.

  1. Immediately the egg is released during ovulation, the ruptured follicle closes and forms what is called Corpus luteum. The Corpus luteum is responsible for the production of progesterone in preparation for pregnancy.Estrogen and progesterone causes the lining of the uterus to thicken further in preparation for implantation.
  2. Once the egg fails to be fertilized the Corpus luteum disintegrates and the production of progesterone is stopped.
  3. The estrogen level decreases and the top layers of the lining breaks down and are shed as menstrual flow starts.

But there is usually a problem once the phase is defective. This is termed the Luteal phase defect or Corpus luteum deficiency.

Luteal phase defect or Corpus luteum insufficiency is a clear manifestation of sub ovarian function.

The Luteal phase defect is primarily defined as abnormally low progesterone level at 3 weeks after the onset of menstrual cycle (< 10 -12 ng/ml).

This state is quite normal for girls in puberty and for women at menopause.

However, it is abnormal for women between the ages of 20 and 40 years.

Luteal phase defect is an indication of abnormal formation of ovarian follicles.  It is an abnormality that ensures that no secondary or tertiary follicles may be formed resulting in lack of ovulation (anovulation).

This leads to insufficiency of progesterone. It is important to understand that an insufficient level of progesterone can lead to ovarian cyst.

Luteal phase defect can lead to a myriad of menstrual abnormalities such as;

  1. Anovulatory cycles – A menstrual cycle that is void of ovulation.
  2. Hyperprolactinemia – A condition of elevated levels of prolactin leading to abnormal discharge of milk from any or both breasts .
  3. Primary Amenorrhea – Failure of menses to occur by age of 16 years in the presence of growth and secondary sexual characteristics.
  4. Secondary Amenorrhea – Absence of menstruation of a woman who has been menstruating and absence lasting for 3 or more months in the absence of pregnancy.
  5. Polymenorrhea – Abnormal frequent menstrual flow usually very irregular with interval of 21 days or fewer.
  6. Persistent Anovulatory bleeding – Irregular uterine bleeding that occurs in the absence of any gynecological disease, pelvic pathology or pregnancy.
  7. Oligomenorrhea – Infrequent menstrual period characterized by its unpredictability and lasting more than 35 days. It may come heavy or light. It can be prolonged, less frequent or random.
  8. Hypermenorrhea – Heavy or prolonged menstrual flow disrupting normal menstrual flow.
  9. Mastalgia – Pains in the mammary glands or breasts. The pains may be serious or not.
  10. Irregular Menstrual Cycles – Inconsistent menstrual cycles that occurs frequently within 21 days or last longer.

Luteal Phase defect with any of its associated problems may lead to infertility.

The good thing is that there are excellent solutions to the Luteal phase defect. The idea is to increase the progesterone level produced by the Corpus luteum during the Luteal phase. This helps to increase the Luteal phase and in many cases prevent miscarriages.

Let’s consider the following solutions that have proven to help correct the Luteal phase defect.

Diet Consideration – This is the starting point. The body responds directly or indirectly to the make up of the foods we eat. This makes food the primary consideration when tackling fertility issues.

Consider looking out for foods rich in the following.

  1. Vitamin C- Vitamin C is an excellent vitamin as it helps to increase production of progesterone and ultimately increases the Luteal phase. It is important that you take foods rich in Vitamin C daily and watch how your luteal phase improves.
Good and natural sources of Vitamin C for tackling Luteal defect

Good and natural sources of Vitamin C for tackling Luteal defect

You can find Vitamin C in Fruits such as

  1. Oranges
  2. Pineapple
  3. Guava
  4. Grapefruits
  5. Watermelon
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cranberries
  8. Blueberries
  9. Mango
  10. Pineapples

You can also find Vitamin C in Ball peppers, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts , cabbage etc.

2. Green Leafy Vegetables – Green Leafy vegetables are good sources of vitamin b6 among a host of other important b vitamins which helps to regulate hormonal imbalances. It also a good source of magnesium and calcium that helps to tackle symptoms of PMS and low progesterone.

Ensure that your meals are loaded with green leafy vegetables. The nearer it is to nature (raw) the better. Wash properly and juice the greens as a variety for consumption. You will be taking a bold step to correcting infertility abnormalities in you.

Fresh green vegetables are excellent sources of Vitamin B6

Fresh green vegetables are excellent sources of Vitamin B6

Other dietary considerations – Diet must be low in animal fat but high in fish oils. Spices with anti inflammatory properties are cool these includes garlic, ginger and onions.

Botanical Considerations – Introduction of herbal use to correct luteal phase defects is important. It is however important to note that the use of botanical sources should be between 3 to 6 menstrual cycles for lasting results.

  1.  Golden Six –  A traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Among the benefit of this Chinese herbal is the ability to balance hormones. It helps to reduce high prolactin levels and helps women with heavy menses and reduces menstrual cramps. Recommended dosage is 1 cap twice daily.
    Golden Six contains vital ingredients that helps to balance hormones

    Golden Six contains vital ingredients that helps to balance hormones

  2. Vitex – Also known as Chaste tree have long been a good hormonal balancer. Vitex is excellent in reducing prolactin and in the correction of Luteal phase defects.
    Traditional hormone balancer. Helps to improve Luteal Phase Defects

    Vitex chaste tree a traditional hormone balancer. Helps to improve Luteal Phase Defects

For example, Golden Six and Vitex acts on the hypothalamic -pituitary axis. They increase LH resulting in corpus luteum like hormonal effect that shift the estrogen – progesterone ratio in the favor of progesterone.

They help to regulate the release of prolactin from the pituitary gland and increases progesterone level.

Effects of Golden Six on the Pituitary hormone secretion

Effects of Golden Six on the Pituitary hormone secretion

In conclusion, improving your menstrual can only be achieved through proper diet, rest and the use of  herbal medicines that helps to balance hormonal level.

Kindly drop your questions and comments in the box below.

Thanks for reading as much as I enjoyed writing this. Enjoy your day.





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