Luteal phase defect or LPD is a fairly common cause for infertility.  It refers to a specific problem with a part of the menstrual cycle called the "luteal phase."

The luteal phase is a part of the menstrual cycle.  It is the time between ovulation and the start of the next period.  Most of the time, the luteal phase lasts for between 10 and 14 days.  If your luteal phase lasts less than 10 or more than 14 days, it is referred to as a luteal phase defect.

If you conceive and you have a luteal phase defect, you may an early miscarriage.  This is because that a luteal phase defect cannot sustain a pregnancy because the uterine lining in these women begins to break down, bringing on the menstrual bleeding and causing an early miscarriage. The number one reason for a luteal phase defect is low progesterone levels. Your doctor can do a progesterone test on you 7 days past ovulation to determine exactly how deficient you are.  Alternatively an ultrasound viewing of the lining may assist in a correct diagnosis, or in rare occasions your physician may perform an endometrial biopsy. 

Fortunately, luteal phase defect is treatable.  Treatment may include adding progesterone by oral, injection or vaginal suppository routes.  Your physician may use ovarian stimulation protocols to ‘goose’ the ovary into better hormone production.  Typically, this is done with Clomid.  Some over the counter medicines such as vitamin B6 and progesterone cream may help as well.

How is a luteal phase defect (LPD) treated?