The luteal phase is the second half of the menstrual cycle that occurs after ovulation and the beginning of the next menstruation. This phase is characterized by the rise of progesterone, a hormon secreted by the ovary. It triggers the uterine lining secretion of nutrition so that it can support embryonic implantation. The normal length of this phase is ideally 12 to 14 days. Luteal Phase Defect (LFD) is a hormonal imbalance that affects the development and secretion of the uterine lining. It is diagnosed when the luteal phase is less than 10 days, progesterone production is lower than normal, the uterine lining is not nutritious and thick enough to nourish an embryo.

In most cases, a woman’s Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovarian axis is trouble which causes imbalance of hormone production. The premature of the uterine lining is mainly caused by:

  • Poor corpus luteum development: can be result of low FSH hormon level or poor response of the ovary to FSH. It leads to poor follicle development and then poor corpus luteum development, Therefore, the production of progesterone is inadequate and fails to thicken the uterine lining for embryo implantationg. The results in unsuccessful pregnancy.
  • Poor respose of the uterine lining to normal level of progesterol so it cannot reach the proper thickness and nutritious to support embryo implantation.

Common symptoms of Luteal Phase Defect include:

  1. Short menstrual cycles
  2. Low basal body temperature
  3. Severe breast tenderness,
  4. Bleeding between periods.
  5. Repeated miscarriage
  6. Feeling of excessive internal heat, dry eyes, constipation, fatigue, low back pain
  7. Infertility(1)

The LPD has been linked to other health problems, including:

  • Endometriosis, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • Extreme amounts of exercise
  • Hyperprolactinemia
  • Anorexia
  • Obesity
  • Thyroid disorders (2)

How Traditional Chinese Medicine treat Luteal phase defect

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the luteal phase is the Yang phase of menstruation cycle. The Kidney Yang is responsible for warming up and nurture. LPD is referred as the „cold Uterus”, in which the uterine is not „warm” and nutritious enough to support the embryo development. Chinese Medicine treatment therefore aims to tonify the Kidney Yang to ensure a”warm” Uterus, which can nurture an embro into term. In western medicine language, the treatment aims to supporting the hormon function and the secreting nutrients of the uterine lining, so that it can ensure the implantation and survival of an embryo. This is why many women- whose Kidney Yang were weak- have previously been told that they are too old, poor responders to IVF/IUI due to Luteal phase defect, still can become pregnant and give birth to baby if their reproductive health is restored.

How acupucture can treat Luteal Phase Defect?

Acupuncture promotes the blood flow to the ovaries to nourish the follicles and create quality and long lasting corpus luteums. It also normalizes the function of the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovarian axis to regulate and improve the body’s natural hormonal production, which in turn improves ovarian function and corpus luteums. With improvement of corpus luteum quality, progesterone levels can reach the optimal level to produce a quality uterine lining for embryo implantation.

Acupuncture also help relax the body and reduce stress level, therefore prevent its negative effect on hormon production and function.

Research evidence

One research conducted in April 2012 proved that acupuncture can substantially improve the luteal corpus function, therefore can help treat infertility. Acupuncture had even better effect in improving the endometrium and a lower miscarriage rate than Clomiphene. Fifty cases were randomized into an acupuncture group and a Clomiphene group. The luteal function before and after treatments was evaluated by observation on the changes of E2, progesterone (P), follicles and endometrium.. Result: The total effective rate in the acupuncture group was 93.4% and was significant higher than the rate 70.0% in the Clomiphene group(P<0.05).(3)

Another research analyzed the effect of TCM treatment of luteal phase defect in 60 cases. These patients were treated  with TCM herbs to tonify the kidney and regulate the menstrual cycle. After the treatment, the hyperthermal phase score of basal body temperature (BBT) was remarkedly increased (P < 0.05), the hyperthermal phase 7-8 days after ovulation was improved (P< 0.001),  the pregnancy rate in 32 cases of luteal phase defect was 56%. The key points of the treatment included the coordination of Yin and Yang, regulation of Qi and Blood, and the combination of tonification with reduction. (4)

In our clinic, we use acupuncture and nutritional guidelines to treat Luteal phase defect, restore your reproductive health, which will increase your chances of conceiving both naturally and through assisted reproductive treatments like IVF/IUI. Do not hesitate to contact us:

Vietkimhong Clinic

1051 Budapest, Arany János utca 33, 1.em.2, Tel: +36 70 943 1878, Dr. Nguyen Thu Hong, email : hongnbcc@gmail.com

References

(1) https://nurtureacupuncture.com/fertility-womens-health/luteal-phase-defect-lpd/

 (2) https://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/luteal-phase-defect

(3) https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11726-012-0577-x

(4) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1861518/