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Luteal Phase Defect: Natural Treatment Options

Luteal Phase Defect: Natural Treatment Options

What is the Luteal Phase?

The Luteal Phase is the time between ovulation and the start of a woman’s period. It is during this important time that fertilization and implantation occurs.

As you might imagine, any disruption in the luteal phase of the cycle can be cause for concern since it can affect fertility. Most experts agree that a luteal phase less than 12 days does not give the uterus sufficient time to establish a nourishing lining for a growing fetus and therefore will cause a miscarriage if fertilization has occurred.

Symptoms of Luteal Phase Defect

  • A short menstrual cycle
  • Low progesterone
  • Disrupted basal body temperatures after ovulation
  • Odd symptoms during luteal phase such as low back pain, bleeding and loose stools

luteal phase

Fertility charting can help to determine the length of your luteal phase and can tell if you have low progesterone levels. Luteal phase defect is estimated to affect 3-4% of women who have ‘unexplained infertility’, up to 63% of women who repeatedly miscarry and 6-10% of women who are fertile. Progesterone is responsible for the increase in basal body temperature after ovulation so, if your temperature does not remain elevated for a minimum of 12 days, you may have a luteal phase defect.

There are several factors which can cause a luteal phase defect (LPD). The most common is a low progesterone level. Progesterone is an important hormone needed for preserving the uterine lining and pregnancy during the first trimester. In the event a woman’s progesterone production did not reach the optimal level during this important stage in her cycle, LPD may occur.

Low Progesterone and Luteal Phase Defect

Progesterone is produced throughout the entire cycle with levels elevating directly after ovulation and staying elevated until menstruation begins. If progesterone levels do not elevate enough after ovulation or drop too soon before menstruation, this can cause a short luteal phase. Here are some of the most common culprits to low progesterone:

Poor Follicle Production
If the pituitary gland does not make enough FSH hormone during the first half of the menstrual cycle (the time between your last period and ovulation), then follicle production may be weak, which can cause a thin uterine lining and an early period. This of course will prohibit fertilization and implantation from taking place.

A Premature Drop in Progesterone
If progesterone levels drop too soon (usually within a few days of ovulation), then the body will automatically think that it is time to flush out the uterus and start all over again. Very short cycles (usually less than 24 days) is usually a sign of this type of luteal phase defect.

Low Luteinizing Hormone
Luteinizing Hormone (LH) increases prior to ovulation occurring (24hrs). It is this spike in LH which causes ovulation to occur. A lower than normal LH surge at ovulation can prevent ovulation from occurring and cause low progesterone levels as well.

Uterine Lining Failure
A fertilized egg needs a nourishing environment to grow into a fetus. This is the job of the uterus. But, if your uterine lining is not thick enough – or strong enough – it can’t sustain this new life and a miscarriage may occur. This too can be caused by low hormones or hormonal imbalance. Estrogen is the hormone which thickens the uterine lining in preparation for implantation and progesterone “ripens” the uterus preparing for implantation.

Abnormally Low Cholesterol Levels & Being Underweight
Another cause of LPD is abnormally low cholesterol levels which results in low to no progesterone production. All hormones, including progesterone, must have cholesterol in order to be manufactured by the body. Being underweight can also be a cause for LPD due to low cholesterol and body fat levels which can cause low hormonal levels across the board.

Solutions for Luteal Phase Defect

While a luteal phase defect can be very serious, prohibiting a pregnancy until it is fixed, the good news is that in most cases it can be helped by natural therapies.

Luteal Phase Defect and low progesterone levels can be affected with a variety of methods including herbs, diet, supplements and/or progesterone cream.


luteal phaseMake sure that any of the herbal and supplement suggestions mentioned below are made in conjunction with a diet rich in whole foods, specifically:

Vitamin C: A study in Fertility and Sterility showed that vitamin C improves hormone levels and increases fertility in some women with luteal phase defect. During the study, 25% of the women who received vitamin C had gotten pregnant within 6 months compared to the placebo group in which 11% were pregnant in the same time period. Foods rich in vitamin C are: Papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, strawberries, and oranges.

Essential fatty acids: EFA’s are important for hormone production. Many women are low in EFA’s, specifically omega 3. Some foods rich in EFA’s are: Flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon, sardines, halibut, shrimp, snapper, scallops, and chia seeds.

Green leafy vegetables: Green vegetables are rich in B vitamins, which are necessary for proper hormonal balance.

Cholesterol from eggs, coconut oil, and fat from organic and grass-fed animal products: Cholesterol is necessary for hormone production. Avoid eating a ‘low-fat’ diet and make sure to eat a diet that includes whole fat sourced from grass-fed animal products. Foods rich in clean cholesterol are: Grass-fed beef, raw milk from grass-fed cows or goats, whole milk yogurt and kefir, free-range/pasture raised eggs, butter from grass-fed milk (Kerry Gold is a common one), and Coconut oil.

All of these foods are necessary for proper hormone production in the body.

Vitex (Chasteberry)

For those looking for a more natural way to boost their progesterone levels, taking a supplement of Vitex (otherwise known as Chasteberry) may be the answer. A small fruit tree grown in the Mediterranean, Vitex has been used for centuries to treat all sorts of female issues including infertility. Studies have shown this herb to be effective at lengthening the luteal phase.

The control group in one German study of 52 women with latent hyperprolactinaemia and luteal phase defect, found that Vitex normalized the luteal phase, decreased prolactin, and balanced progesterone and estrogen mid-luteal phase.

In a 2004 double-blind placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 30 women, 15 in the control group, took a Vitex supplement for five months and experienced higher progesterone levels in their luteal phases and more pregnancies than the placebo group.

While it does not contain any hormones itself, it does help the body to increase its own production of luteinizing hormone (promoting ovulation to occur), which in turns boosts progesterone levels during the luteal phase of the cycle.

Progesterone Cream

One of the most common treatments for lengthening a woman’s luteal phase is to use a progesterone cream. Found over the counter, natural progesterone cream should be used twice a day on the inner arm, inner thigh, or neck, after ovulation has occurred until the period begins. If the problem begins with low Luteinizing Hormone, then just adding progesterone may not work. Click here to learn more about using progesterone cream properly…

Vitamin B6

A lot of women have reported a lengthened luteal phase after supplementing with vitamin B6. This may have been caused by the hormonal balancing effect vitamin B6 has on the body. Vitamin B6 can be found in tuna, bananas, turkey, liver, salmon, and many of the greens. Taking a vitamin B6 supplement is also another choice. Suggested usage is 50mg up to 100mg daily. Make sure to use vitamin B6 in conjunction with a B vitamin complex or multivitamin to avoid causing imbalances.


It is believed that oxidative stress/damage influences a woman’s fertility during her reproductive years (and beyong), and may be a cause of luteal phase defect. 2005 research out of Center for Advanced Research in Human Reproduction, Infertility, and Sexual Function in Cleveland, Ohio, found that women who had luteal phase defect and recurrent miscarriages were found to have significantly lower levels of antioxidants than healthy women. There are so many benefits of antioxidants on fertility, they should be a part of every couple’s fertility program. Learn more about antioxidants and fertility…


Luteal Phase Defect is serious since it will prevent pregnancy. Luckily, Luteal Phase Defect can often be easily remedied with the therapies listed above. You may also find it helpful to get your progesterone levels tested. This is going to help you determine if progesterone supplementation may be necessary. Fertility charting is also advised, as it is going to help you pin down the length of your luteal phase each cycle, so that you can see if the changes you have implemented to resolve LPD are working or not.


  • Weiss, R.F. (1988). Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield Arcanum: Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • Trickey, R. (2003). Women’s Hormones & the Menstrual Cycle. Allen & Unwin.
  • Henmi, H., Endo, T., Kitajima, Y., Manase, K., Hata, H., & Kudo, R. (2003). Effects of ascorbic acid supplementation on serum progesterone levels in patients with a luteal phase defect. Fertility and Sterility, 80(2), 459-461. doi:10.1016/s0015-0282(03)00657-5 Retrieved from:
  • Milewicz A, Gejdel E, Sworen H, Sienkiewicz K, Jedrzejak J, Teucher T, et al. (1993 July). Vitex agnus castus extract in the treatment of luteal phase defects due to latent hyperprolactinemia. Results of a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study. Arzneimittelforschung. 43:752–6.]. Retrieved from
  • Westphal LM, Polan ML, Trant AS, Mooney SB. (2004). A nutritional supplement for improving fertility in women: a pilot study. J Reprod Med. 49:289–93.]. Retrieved from
  • Agarwal, A., Gupta, S., & Sharma, R. K. (2005). Role of oxidative stress in female reproduction. Reprod Biol Endocrinol, 3(28), 1-21. Retrieved from:

Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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  1. Avatar

    Hello, since having my son (who is now 21 months) I’ve lost 3 days off of my cycle (now on average 23 days). I assumed that I was ovulating early but after charting and using OPKs, I’m ovulating at the same time as previous (day 13/14) and then coming on my period anywhere between CD20-24. I’ve been taking 50mg of B6 for 2 months which I’m not sure has made a difference and I’ve just ordered 400mg vitex tablets. Please can you advise me how to take them? I’ve read conflicting information about taking them the whole cycle or just taking them from ovulation to when your period arrives. Also, if I do fall pregnant, should I stop taking Vitex completely? Thank you 🙂

    • Dear Amy,

      We have found through our research and use of Vitex with our clients, that it is best used taken each day of the menstrual cycle. The general suggested use is 900-1000mg daily consistently for at least 3 months (for some longer). Vitex can be taken when trying to conceive and it is best weaned off of in early pregnancy. Vitex is an herb that many midwives support continuing into pregnancy, so it may also help to seek the support of a midwife or herbalist to work one on one with in person to help you decide this when the time comes.

  2. Avatar

    My cycle is typically like clockwork, fourteen days between cd 1 and ovulation, day 16 temp shift. Then fourteen days literal phase before it starts all over again. However this past month my luteal phase w only nine days for a total cycle of only 24 days! I eat whole foods and organic when possible but am not on any of the supplements listed. Two months ago I moved and started working overnights. Could these stressor be the cause of my suddenly short luteal phase? Should I give it a few months to adjust or should I begin looking at other potential causes?

    • Dear Lilly,

      Moving and beginning the night shift could indeed be the culprits. I would give it a few months to readjust while still eating as well as possible, trying to manage stress and adjusting to the new sleep schedule/pattern. Be gentle with yourself and don’t focus on anything else being wrong for now!

  3. Avatar

    I have a luteal phase of 10 days (based on OPK and BBT) every month. We’ve been trying to conceive for about 6 months now, but by 9DPO I’m getting back pains and cramps. Is 10 days enough time for conception? Should I try any supplements? I am already taking Pre-natals and have been for 6 months, tried Pre-Seed this month as well. I have hypothyroidism as well so I try to be careful with whatever I am taking. Any suggestions?

  4. Avatar

    I have a luteal phase of about 9 days (based on OPKs and BBT) every month at 6dpo I start cramping which generally remains until my cycle starts. I’ve done various blood test for hormone levels (not progesterone yet) and everything comes back normal. I’m taking B-complex, vitamin D, CoQ10, and a prenatal vitamin to extent my LP. I just bought Vitex and will add that to my regime. I exercise daily and eat a healthy, Paleo-esque, diet. Any other suggestions?

    • Hell Kat Mae!

      So far everything sounds great! Allow Vitex some time to be effective. Then, consider testing to determine progesterone levels. Two natural therapies to consider learning more about are Self Fertility Massage and Fertility Yoga. These may be helpful as well.

      I hope to hear of your success!

  5. Avatar

    Forgot to ask: if you recommend a boidentical cream, are there any brands that are better? I live in Norway and we dont have it. I need to go online to England or the US. Thanks

    • Hello again!

      We sell Fertilica Natural Progesterone Cream or Emerita Pro-Gest. A pure progesterone cream or one designed specifically for female fertility are best. Norway’s Customs and policies for importing natural health products prevents us from shipping directly to Norway, yet contacting a courier to facilitate shipping if you wished to order the Fertilica brand may work (I’m not certain though).

  6. Avatar

    Hi, 43, single again, wanting to prolong baby chances. Shorter lp, 26-27 days cycle, used to be 29, spotting last 2-3 days, always like that, have hemofilia A. Lower progesterone now. Can you explain more about the difference in vitex and bioidentical progesterone cream uses for my need and how long can I use both things. Have vitex liquid, but not used it yet. When should I start using cream or vitex?

    • Hello Kerstin!

      Our current understanding of Vitex is that it has a supporting and regulating effect upon the pituitary gland. The pituitary is known as the “master gland” because it controls many vital bodily functions such as sending chemical signals to the ovaries, telling them how much hormones to make. This communication is known as the hormonal feedback loop. Vitex does this without containing hormones itself.

      Progesterone cream can help to supplement your body’s own progesterone levels. Natural progesterone cream comes from plant fats and oils called diosgenin which is extracted either from Mexican Wild Yams or soybeans. In the laboratory diosgenin is chemically synthesized into a molecular structure that is identical to real human progesterone. When using natural progesterone cream, one applies “bio-identical” hormones to the body.

      The general suggested use of Fertilica Vitex is 900-1000mg daily all month long, first thing in the morning, without taking a break. General suggested use of progesterone cream is during the two weeks prior to the first day of menstruation. We share more (including a video) on how to use natural progesterone cream here...

      I hope this is helpful!

  7. Avatar

    I have a luteal phase of 11-12 days. My post ovulatory temperatures fluctuate and usually drop to the cover line (or below) once in the middle of the luteal phase. What concerns me is I still ‘feel’ cervical mucus during the luteal phase though it is only sticky. Is that a sign of low progesterone? I do worry about the fluctuating temperatures too.

    • Dear Rebecca,

      After ovulation cervical mucus will return to “non-fertile” or that stickier consistency (versus pliable and wet like egg whites). This is normal. In fact for some CM disappears altogether in the luteal phase.

      Regarding the luteal phase BBT dip, what I know is that this is commonly called the “implantation dip”. It is exactly as you’ve described, a temperature lower than your “normal” luteal phase temperature mid-luteal phase (even after). The dip in BBT can happen sporadically and while an “implantation” dip it does not truly indicate implantation each cycle (indicated by menstruation starting) and a woman can get pregnant without ever experiencing a luteal phase BBT dip.

      Luteal phase BBT temperature sips can be caused by the estrogen surge that happens mid-luteal phase. It may be more of a red flag if BBTs during the entire luteal phase we low or dip and stayed low.

      The best way to know if progesterone is a concern is to have testing. There are at-home tests or your doctor can test your progesterone levels.

      I hope this is helpful!

  8. Avatar

    Is vitamin B6 from a herbal tea an adequate source of this vitamin?

  9. Avatar


    I have an endometriousis surgery a year ago, and taking visanne for 6 month then other birth control tablets for another 3 months. Now we would like to have a baby, but my cycle has not started to work (no bleeding) since I finished the birth control tablets (by now for 2 months). Having a blood test shows that I have low hormones :
    LH < 1.4 IU/L
    Progesterone < 0.6 nmol/L
    Oestradiol < 40 pmol/L
    FSH 1.9 IU/L
    Prolactin 183 mIU/L
    What kind of natural solutions would you suggest in this case to restart my cycle?
    I am thinking about on the Royal Jelly – would it be useful in this case?

    • Dear Noemi,

      I understand wanting to have a period, yet I think perhaps an approach that addresses supporting the body in dealing with endometriosis may be most helpful. Endometriosis is estrogen-sensitive, meaning that it responds to estrogen — growing in response to circulating estrogen. Excess estrogen in one of the main culprits in causing not only it’s growth, but also hormonal imbalance which then causes disordered ovulation and it’s growth outside of the uterus. Estrogen still circulates within the body even after endometriosis surgery. Consider learning more and the tips in our guide 5 Steps to Reversing Endometriosis Infertility. These steps can also help healthy menstruation return.

      We also offer this service, Fertility Consultations, that seems like it would be a really good fit for you. If you are interested, let me know and I will get you all the information about the program.

  10. Avatar

    My cycle varies from 24-30 days (average is about 27).
    For the last couple of years I’ve had spotting a week before my period, which I assumed was due to low progesterone. So I started taking Vit B and doing other things to raise progesterone. The spotting has stopped now, so hopefully that worked. But I still have other symptoms of low progesterone / LPD like PMS, heavy periods, low libido.
    I did a saliva hormone test which showed low ESTROGEN and low-average progesterone which has left me v confused as I don’t have low estrogen symptoms. Now I’m unsure of what to do, what to supplement with, whether to use progesterone cream. Help!

    • Dear Jess,

      Can you clarify “doing other things…”? What?

      Maybe some of these are included, but if not, consider learning more about endocrine system nourishing herbs to support balanced hormonal levels…
      – Maca – Supports the endocrine system to be healthy and balanced.
      – FertiliCare Phase 1 & 2 – Helps to balance the hormones.
      – Royal Jelly – May help to slightly increase estrogen naturally in the body.
      – Vitex – Supports a healthy endocrine system without containing hormones.

  11. Avatar

    I’m 23 years old and have been off hormonal birth control for 10 months. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for 6 months. My cycle varies from 37-40 days. I have a light bleed that lasts for about 5 days and the first day the blood is always quite dark. Is that normal? I’ve been keeping track of my temperature, I ovulate around the 28th day, and my luteal phase lasts 11 days? is that too short? I’ve been using OPK tests around the time I ovulate but they’re always negative? Do you think my Luteinizing Hormone is lower than normal? and do you think I have low progesterone levels as well?

    • Dear Cathy,

      Thanks for reaching out to us!

      First, a few explanations:
      – Dark blood at the beginning of a period is a sign of old blood from a previous cycle that wasn’t expelled or perhaps bleeding at another time of the cycle. This indicate lack of uterine tone or circulation the the uterus.
      – Most healthcare practitioners like to see a 12 day luteal phase at least. Now, is 11 too short, perhaps not for you, but a 37-40 day cycle may be a bit too long. The usual range of a healthy cycle is between 21 and 35 days.

      Then, I wonder how you know you are ovulating. Are you charting BBT and observing changes in cervical mucus to determine ovulation? OPKs can be finicky. To learn LH and progesterone levels, your doctor can test you. This really is best.

      Have you seen our guide How to Balance Your Hormones After Birth Control> This guide offers great tips to consider and you work to support the body in finding its normal.

      I hope this is helpful!

  12. Avatar

    My cycle is 32-35 days with a light bleed of 5 days (first 2 heavy 3 days light). My ovulation stick says i ovulate around day 19-21. With fertile mucus around these days. But my temperature rises 2-3 days later and only stays high for 5 days ish before dropping a few days then I bleed again. Can you tell what is happeingin?

    • Dear Vanessa,

      Are you certain you’re ovulating? OPK test strips, if this is what you are using, detect the luteinizing hormone surge that happens prior to ovulation. OPK tests may help you determine when you are about to ovulate, but they do not guarantee ovulation occurs each cycle or at the same time each cycle.

      It is great you see fertile CM and that temperatures do rise, but they should begin rising immediately after ovulation, rather than two to three days later. Have you had progesterone levels tested? When ovulation occurs and progesterone levels are healthy, basal body temperatures should rise daily in the luteal phase and remain elevated until menstruation begins at which time the drop (if pregnancy occurs and is viable, temps. aren’t likely to drop).

  13. Avatar

    Many women with short cycle or low progesterone do not know the effects these two things until when it is time to conceive. I am glad more knowledgeable people like you are informing women of the symptoms and natural solutions to fertility problems. Vitex is a herb I would definitely recommend to increase progesterone as well.

  14. Avatar

    Thank you for this wonderful website. I recently had the mirena coil removed and my first proper cycle had a luteal phase of only 8 days. I started taking a vitamin B6 + B12 supplement to see if it would help lengthen my luteal phase and I just got a positive pregnancy test at 13 DPO! My question is should I continue to take the supplement – is it possible that the high doses of vitamins can cause harm to the developing baby? (it is 100mg B6 and 500 mcg B12). Or would stopping it suddenly increase the risk of miscarriage? should I taper off to a lower level? Thanks for your help!

    • Dear Rachel,

      What amazing news! Congratulations!

      This is a great question to ask your doctor as he/she assesses your health and babies health.

      I have not heard of vitamin B6 at 100mg daily causing adverse events in pregnancy, but I am not a doctor. I also know that many can get enough vitamin B6 from a prenatal multivitamin and through the diet. So, perhaps your whole food diet and prenatal multivitamin will offer enough of each nutrient.

      I have read that up to 2mg daily of B12 should not be harmful, but again talk to your doctor. Vitamin B12 and folic acid work together to manufacture the baby’s DNA and brain neurotransmitters.

      We offer many Pregnancy Health Resources if they might be helpful. I wish you all the best!

  15. Avatar

    Had a daughter in Dec 2014, before that we tried to conceive for a year. I was on clomid because of unpredictable cycles and later progesterone suppository because of a short LP. The cycle before conceiving my daughter I had a miscarriage at 5 weeks while on the suppository. Went off ALL meds completely & got pregnant the next cycle, had a completely normal healthy pregnancy.
    Fast forward, my daughter is almost 2. Went off mirena in March & having unpredictable cycles again, 28-42 days. Been testing ovulation the last 2 cycles & I ovulate very late, had an 11 day LP last cycle and just now a 9 day LP. I ovulated on day 19 this time. I plan on calling my doctor, but any thoughts?

    • Dear Siobahn,

      Are the irregular cycles a result of IUD removal? Did you have cycles before having the IUD put in?

      We have two guides to consider reading through that may offer helpful tips. They are:
      Fertility Tip: How to Enhance Fertility After IUD Removal and
      How to Balance Your Hormones After Birth Control

      I hope this is helpful as you await an appointment!

    • Avatar

      A year before conceriving my daughter I was on orthocyclen, and I was having those same problems when I was trying back then, but I think maybe this time around the Mirena is causing the problems.
      Thank you for your response, those articles are very helpful!!! I never knew Mirena prevented ovulation. The only reason I decided to get it was because my dr told me I would still ovulate on it. I am really regretting that decision right now.

    • You are welcome Siobhan!

      Try not to regret! Know that there is help in supporting the body’s return to balance through natural therapies.

  16. Avatar

    I have been tracking my cycle for two months. I have hypothyroidism but it is treated and I have confirmed ovulation with bbt charting and opk. However my luteal phase was 13 days the first month but this last month it was only 11 days. My cycles are staying 27 days every month. Should I be concerned? I am thinking of starting B6. Is that a good option?

    • Dear Laura,

      Some women see ovulation shift a bit from cycle to cycle. This can be perfectly normal. That said, if you feel you might benefit from extra vitamin b6, it is easy to consume through diet and a B complex supplement.

  17. Avatar

    I am 24 years old and I am married for more than a year now. We have been trying to have a baby. I have regular menstrual cycle of 28 days and my letural phase is 12 days exact. We are both healthy , well I know I am healthy and nothing is wrong in terms of my reproductive health. Is my letura phase too short to keep a baby?? Please your advice. Thanks

    • Dear Louisa,

      A 12 day luteal phase is considered healthy and adequate.

      Do you know your fertile window? Has your partner been tested? Do you have concerns about conceiving?

  18. Avatar

    I am 39 and i have a baby boy 16 months old.I have been trying to get pregnant for the past two months.My luteal phase has been about 13 to 14 days,but last month on my first try it got to 18 days(i was about to do a pregnancy test and then on the 19th day my period came).I don´t know if i suffered an early miscarriage or my period just got messed up.Ovulation was on the 15th day of the cycle.This month i tried again and today is the 19th day and my period has not came and i did a pregnancy test that was negative.Can a long luteal phase hinder pregnancy? Could i have a corpus luteum cyst and it´s keeping progsterone high and not allow my period to come?
    Thank you!

    • Dear Ana,

      There are often signs of both miscarriage and ovarian cysts that would be indicators of either happening like pain, inflammation, heavy menstrual blood loss with large clots or pieces of tissue, etc. I can not know if either happened for you.

      Do you mean that your luteal phase is 19 days long or that your whole cycle is 19 days long? A 19-day menstrual cycle is actually considered short. Our Natural Guide for Menstrual Health explains what a healthy cycle might look like in detail.

      Are you still breastfeeding? Have you recently begun taking any herbs, nutritional supplements or using natural therapies? Have your stress levels recently shifted, did your exercise routine or diet change? I ask as each of these things can impact the timing of the menstrual cycle.

  19. Avatar

    I am 30 and have had an ovary removed about two years ago. My cycles are very short (average 22 days) and my luteal phases are very short (less than 10 days). My husband and I plan to start TTC within the year, but I’m worried this will affect us. Should I be extra vigilant of miscarriage? Do I need to start trying ‘remedies’ before TTC or wait and see if it all works out. I’m afraid if I wait even longer to solve the problem we will be TTC for a long time.

    • Dear Jessica,

      In general and luteal phase that is less that 10 days is considered two short and there is greater potential that the uterine lining will be an inadequate thickness to sustain a healthy pregnancy. To prevent the heartache of losing a pregnancy, it is my opinion that at age 30 you have the time to take prepare for pregnancy naturally. It is suggested that 3 months of pregnancy preparation is best at minimum. This is not a long time if you can prevent miscarriage! I would encourage you to consider the tips we offer here. Herbs, natural therapies, diet and lifestyle changes are offer amazing benefits!

      All my best as you decide the right plan for you and your husband!

  20. Avatar

    Im 28 and have a 3 year old son with whom I became pregnant accidentally ( so no problems conceiving him). At that time my luteal phase was 12/13 days. About a year and a half ago I noticed slight spotting before my periods and began to chart again and found that my luteal phase is now about 9 days followed by 3 days of spotting. I have tried a number of natural remedies to rebalance my hormones including acupuncture/chinese herbs, vitex, B6, progesterone cream and Maca root (over the course of a year) with absolutely no improvement. My OBGYN told me that my progesterone levels were on the “low side of normal” and the spotting should not be a problem in terms of getting pregnant.

    • Dear Jules,
      Spotting right before a period starts can be from fertility health issues including thyroid issues, fibroids/polyps and endometriosis for example. In the absence of any issue, luteal phase defect can be to blame. While conceiving may not be a problem, carrying a healthy pregnancy with a short luteal phase and the resultant low progesterone levels can be problematic to the pregnancy.

      Given all you have tried, which are natural therapies suggested in this guide, it would be best to consider a Fertility Consultation. Through a Fertility Consultation you can share all that you’ve used in specific detail, including information about your overall and fertility health, to receive a 3-6 month natural fertility program designed specifically for your needs.

      I hope you will consider!

  21. Avatar


    I have a 8.5 – 9 day Luteal Phase. Ttc for 2+ years. Recently, my doctor agreed to give me progesterone supplements to lengthen the luteal phase. This worked and i even got a positive pregnancy test the second month i tried it! Unfortunately my hcg levels dropped soon after and i had a miscarriage at 6 weeks. Then again the following month, I got a positive test result and 2 days later a negative. Do you have any advise as to a) what else i should look into diagnosticaly or treatment wise? and b) whether you know of any ways to correct a LPD in the longterm without taking supplementation? (If there is an underlying cause I want to treat it!) Hysterosalpingogram clear and no PCOS..

    • Dear Tonia,

      I am sorry for your loss! We have learned that if using progesterone at conception, it is best to continue it into early pregnancy. I am not certain when progesterone was stopped each pregnancy, so consider talking to your doctor about this if you choose to use progesterone again.

      Regarding having a short luteal phase, this can cause prohibit pregnancy. Revisit the section of this very guide “Solutions for Luteal Phase Defect” to learn natural ways (rather easy ways) to support the body achieve hormonal balance and relearn how to maintain a healthy luteal phase.

      If you are still unsure of where to begin, or how to proceed, please consider working one on one with our fertility herbalist who can lay out an entire natural fertility program for you based on your specific fertility health needs through a Fertility Consultation.

      Best wishes!

  22. Avatar

    I find that green veggies, esp. Dark Dark Green make my heart pound like crazy, my face goes numb, and I have to heave until its Gone! Does this happen to anybody else?

    • Hi Janey,

      I have never heard of this happening. Are you eating them raw? Do you have poor thyroid function? An allergy to certain types of leafy green vegetables?

  23. Avatar

    Ciao, First I just want to thank you for this website it has helped me a lot along my journey. I am 28 and had a miscarriage a year ago. Since then I have had the saliva test suggested through here. My estrogen was high and progesterone was really low (58.8). In the last year I have gone from no period, to having one every two weeks to the last 4 months having a cycle that is 18-21 days long. Last 3 months I have been on vitex and tried progesterone cream, which cleared up my skin (cystic acne), but I am not consistent with it because of the confusion with such a short period. Q: When do I take the progesterone cream? Can I add maca into the mix or is that too much? Any other suggestions?

    • Dear Christine,

      You have seen wonderful changes in your menstrual cycle. This is great! Consider each tip mentioned in this article in addition to the supplements being used. Vitex is suggested at a dose of 900-1000mg per day each day of the menstrual cycle without taking a break and natural progesterone cream use should begin directly after ovulation until menstruation begins at this time its use is stopped until after ovulation the following menstrual cycle. To learn more about the use of natural progesterone cream, visit our Progesterone Fertility Guide.

      Fertilica Maca can be taken with Fertilica Vitex and Fertilica Natural Progesterone Cream. Learn more about Maca here…

  24. Avatar

    I have had 4 miscarriages and I am trying everything I can to get pregnant but nothing seems to be working. I am 45 years old and I have been told my age is a big factor and I do not have viable eggs which is causing the difficulty in conceiving. If you have any other suggestions it would be great appreciated. All I want is the opportunity to have one child with my husband. My menses can range anywhere from 25 to 28 days. I have had various tests done and I am fine and nowhere close to menopause. Can you help!!
    Thanks, Barb

    • Dear Barb,

      Consider reviewing our guide for Preparing for Conception Over 40. This will share what we feel are the most important natural steps to take to prepare yourself for conception, pregnancy and to sustain healthy fertility.

      Consider also working one on one with our fertility herbalist who can lay out an entire natural fertility program for you based on your specific fertility health needs. This if offered through a Fertility Consultation.

    • Avatar

      Dear Barb,
      Wishing you many blessings. I hope you are able to have a child on your own. I’m 44 and same thing no problems with my reproductive system. Went to see Specialist for IVF and it was strongly suggested I use donor eggs as the success rate of using my own was low (even though I have lots of eggs)! Science is not perfected on this process. So frustrating, but trying every natural option possible including acupuncture. I hope to see a post on this website someday that you have your baby! 🙂 There aren’t very many of us trying at this age it seems…

  25. Avatar

    Hello, I am 34 and had a D&C October 2013.My surgery was because I had a hole in the sack which the liquid leak out. I have been tracking my cycles to detect ovulation. My cycle is only four days which reads one of the defects of an un normal luteal. I just use the luteal phase calculator and it said it’s 19 days long. I would like to know if this would be a problem for me to get pregnant because it has to be some kind of thickness with the endometrium lining in the uterus and if so could this be the reason for the D&C?
    Thanks, Nicole

    • Dear Nicole,

      I am very sorry for your loss!

      Do you mean your period only lasts for 4 days? If so, this is not considered abnormal. Also, a 19 day luteal phase is considered an adequate length for the endometrial lining to build for healthy implantation of an embryo. Implantation occurred for you, it’s just that for some reason there was a hole in the gestational sac, the large fluid-filled cavity that surrounds the embryo/fetus. I am not certain anyone has proven why this happens sadly.

      Dilation & Curretage, D&C, is a performed when the body miscarries and is unable to properly or completely expel the pregnancy on its own.

      As you continue to prepare for pregnancy, consider the 5 Steps To Decreasing the Chance of Recurrent Miscarriages.

      All my best!

  26. Avatar

    I am 35 years old and have been TTC for 18 months. I had a chemical pregnancy about 9 months ago. I have had irregular spotting during my luteal phase since going off the pill 2 years ago (was on pill for 1 year). I have had ultrasounds and tests done and have been told that everything looks fine and that the spotting will not effect my fertility. My cycles currently range from 30-35 days. I use an OPK and ovulate Day 14-17 each month. However, I always begin to spot by 10-12 DPO until my period finally begins. So, I typically spot for a full week before my true period begins. I feel like this irregular spotting is associated with my infertility. Could natural progesterone cream help?

  27. Avatar

    Good morning,
    My cycle is on and off, which mean 26-29 days, but I don’t know if am ovulating. Please help me. What can I take because I’ve been trying for 4 years plus.

    • Dear Ruth,

      It is important to know that many woman have menstrual cycles that vary in length a bit from cycle to cycle. The usual range of a healthy cycle is between 21 and 35 days, but as long as there is a pattern, regularity, a healthy body and the follicular phase is between 12-14 days there should be no cause for concern.

      There are a variety of ways to help a woman learn when she ovulates each menstrual cycle from Cycle Beads, to ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), basal body temperature charting (BBT Charting), tracking cervical mucus changes and many applications or “Apps” for smartphones. The Guide to Fertility Charting and article Chart Your Fertility with a Fertility App on Your Mobile Device may be helpful.

      I hope you are able to find a method for tracking ovulation that is easy and convenient for you.

  28. Avatar

    I have been trying to conceive for 19 months following an ectopic pregnancy in Sep. 2013 resulting in the loss of one of my tubes. My periods are generally regular with cycle around 28 days. Will occasionally have a month that it might be off by a day or 2. I am pretty well aware when I ovulate and use an OPK just to verify and it’s typically happening around 21 days. I have not had official testing done for progesterone levels, etc., but had a HSG done to make sure the other side was fine (it is). I’m thinking of trying the Vitex. Is it safe to use a combination of these, i.e. B6 and Vitex, or even throwing in some fish oil as well?

    • Dear Andrea,

      I am sorry for your loss and what you have been through!

      Fertilica Vitex can be combined with vitamin B6 and a fish oil or omega supplement. Consider learning more about Fertilica Cod Liver Oil which we know to be a quality source of omega-3s supportive of fertility health and pregnancy.

  29. Avatar

    Dear Elizabeth,
    Thank you for this article. It’s very informative and easy to understand.
    I am 33 and I have irregular cycles although it seems to be getting better now mostly around 28 days. I ovulate on day 13/14, but the week before my period I usually start spotting & cramping- then I get my period. Is this considered as LPD?
    I’ve been using clear blu digital-dual hormone to keep testing even after ovulation and since cd 18 I’ve had a flashing face (high estrogen) until now and I’m on day 22. Is it normal?
    Also I believe I have high androgens in my body and am about to start taking DIM. Is it going to be safe taking these throughout my cycle and still keep trying for a baby?

    • Hello Helen!

      I am thankful this article has been so helpful.

      With a 28-day cycle and ovulation occurring on cycle day 13 or 14, the luteal phase would be 14 or 15 days long which is not indicative of luteal phase defect.

      Abnormal uterine bleeding can be scary and tricky. There are a variety of reasons why a woman might bleed in the absence of menstruation. Click that link to learn more.

      What I have learned about the Clearblu Digital Ovulation Test, the smiley face appears when LH surges and on the day leading up to ovulation. Clearblue says this day and the following day are your 2 best days to get pregnant.

      DIM can be taken preconception and while trying to conceive. It is to be discontinued upon first determination of pregnancy.

      I hope this information is also helpful!

  30. Avatar

    Good Morning Elizabeth!
    My cycles have been 27 and 28 days for more than 6 months. However, I ovulate the last few months on day 11. Also, according to the monitor I’m ovulating 2 days in a row (day 11 & day 12) is that normal? Does that qualify me for the Luteal Phase Defect?

    • Dear Sam,

      Ovulation on cycle day 11 or 12 means that your luteal phase is either 16 or 17 days long respectively which does not indicate luteal phase defect. Most experts feel that a luteal phase shorter than 12 days is when one may be experiencing too short of a luteal phase. A 27-28 day menstrual cycle is what most consider “normal”.

      Women typically only ovulate one day each cycle. Might one of these days be a peak day? I can’t really know without knowing which monitor is being used. Consider reading through any instructions or online forums for frequently asked questions.

  31. Avatar

    My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for 3 years. I am 36 years old and we have 3 kids (7,5, and 3). I never had any trouble getting pregnant before. I eat healthily, and exercise every day. I’ve been taking prenatal vitamins for over a year. I charted this month and I got a positive opk on day 20 of my cycle, had a temperature spike on day 24 (so I ovulated on day 23) then I got my period on day 31. Is this luteal phase short? If I take progesterone, do I begin the day after I ovulate? and then when do i stop?

    • Dear Amanda,

      A seven day luteal phase by many standards is considered short. Regarding progesterone cream use, it is best to first determine through testing that progesterone levels are in fact low. Our Progesterone Fertility Guide will share more about testing and the proper use of natural progesterone cream.

      While natural progesterone cream may offer support, as you have read here there are a variety of rather easy ways to impact luteal phase length through changing one’s diet and lifestyle, and supplementing with nutrients and herbs that are often more of a “go-to” that progesterone cream (for me).

      I hope to have been helpful!

  32. Avatar

    Dear Hethir,
    Thank you for your research and sharing. I am a Certified Creighton Model Fertility Care Practitioner for 35 years and now a Nutrition Consultant too. This was a very simple beautiful explanation of some basic ideas that could help many women and couples overcome this very difficult condition. I do not know how I got on your mailing list. I would love to know where your center is? I hope you will contact me. For eg., your advice about B6 and taking it with a B Complex is very excellent. I would like to tell people about you.
    Yours Truly,
    Susan McConneloug

    • Dear Susan,

      Thank you for your praise! We are an internet-based business at this time without a physical location/center to visit. We work with our customers and clients via phone, email, Live Chat and email Fertility Consultations. We also offer an Affiliate Program for practitioners interested in affiliating with the Natural Fertility Company.

      I have also shared your message with Hethir.
      All my best!

  33. Avatar

    So after the reading the article I was just curious when I should take vitamin B6 for a short luteal phase… before ovulation or all month long? Thank you!

    • Dear Claire,

      Vitamin B6 is best taken in combination with a multivitamin (whole food multis are best) and daily through the entire menstrual cycle.

  34. Avatar

    I have a moderate case of endometriosis and have heard mixed reviews regarding vitex and its possibility of worsening the symptoms. I have a 24 day average cycle, have gone through clomid, femera, brevel, and have used ovidrel most months in addition to the other meds. I have had an hsg so there is no scar tissue or physical blockages, but feel like there is something more to the lack of fertility. Can you tell me if vitex would be safe to try? I regularly take a pre-natal multivitamin, fish oil, D, magnesium and zinc. Thanks!

    • Dear Laura,

      It is important for women with endometriosis to work to nourish the endocrine system which is the system that coordinates the communication or our hormones.

      Fertilica Vitex supports hormone balance and has been found to normalize and improve progesterone levels which are often low with estrogen-dominant fertility conditions. Vitex is actually used in Germany by gynecologists to treat mild endometriosis and reduce the advancement of mild endometriosis.

      I hope this is helpful!

  35. Avatar

    Hi – I’ve averaged an 11-day luteal phase (low end of normal) and this past cycle it went down to only 10 days. I am taking a vitex tincture but I have also been looking in to B6 as a part of a B complex supplement to help with this. I know that too much B6 can lead to some rather undesirable side effects. My question is this – if taking a prenatal that includes all the B vitamins such as B6, but not in the amounts you mention above, would you think it a good idea to add on a B-complex supplement as well?

    • Dear Stacey,

      A B-complex supplement can be taken with a whole food prenatal multivitamin to meet the suggested daily dose. If interested in taking just vitamin B6, it alone is best taken with either a B-complex supplement or a whole food multivitamin or wholefood prenatal multivitamin.

  36. Avatar

    Thank you so much for all the great information on this site – it is really informative and comforting! I have been charting for 6 months and prior to that I have always kept an eye on my dates of menstruation – which were always 28 days. Since ttc I have had 3 early periods at 24-25 days even though I only ovulated on day 17 which I know by using opk and and temp charting. On months where we did not have sex within the short fertile window my LP was 14 days and the few months we did have sex within the window and possible fertilization of an egg my LP was 6 to 7 days with my period arriving a week early! Do you have any recommendations for this or should I go see someone? I am 32.

    • Dear Karen,

      We have learned that Luteal Phase Defect is is one of the easiest fertility issues to reverse with simple, natural diet changes – including herbs, nutritional supplements – and natural therapies.

      It is entirely up to you whether you visit your healthcare provider or not. One reason to do so would be that he can help you determine if your progesterone levels are low and a possible contributor to your short luteal phase. Knowing this can help you decide if natural progesterone cream is something for you to try.

      I hope the information in this article is helpful as decide the best course of action for your needs! If you would like help in deciding, we offer Natural Fertility Consultations. Learn more about a Fertility Consultation here…

      All my best!

  37. Avatar

    I’m 30 and have been ttc for 6 months since getting my mirena IUD removed. Since getting it removed and beginning to track my cycles I have noticed that my cycle is about 25 days, LP is 13 days, but spotting begins around 9-10 DPO. I am concerned that I have so many days of spotting before beginning my cycle. I haven’t been charting (starting now), just using OPKs. Last month I used the clear blue easy advanced and I got a smiley for the day I was ovulating, but it did not give a flashy smile to indicate a rise in estrogen. Is this a short LP problem?
    I have begun taking vitex, but I wasn’t sure if I should start researching the other recommendations you have or if this is another problem.

    • Dear Erin,

      According to the Clear Blue Easy website about the Advanced Digital Ovulation Test, “a flashing smiley face for the “high” fertility days leading up to ovulation, and a solid smiley face for your “peak” fertility days on the day your LH surge is detected and the day after.” It is my estimation, although it would be best to reach out to them, that given you saw the solid smiley face there was a LH surge indicating ovulation may happen.

      The Frequently Asked Questions there also share that “… If the hormone changes naturally occur close together it is possible that High Fertility may not be displayed and that the Holder will change from Low Fertility to Peak Fertility without displaying High Fertility…”

      It is generally agreed upon that a luteal phase 12-14 days in length is healthy. I am not certain there is cause for concern. Charting your basal body temperature, BBT, should offer more in-depth information on your entire cycle and I hope will be reassuring.

      I hope this is helpful!

  38. Avatar

    Hoping you can help me. We have been trying for almost 2 years. We are on the older side and I only have 1 ovary so we are fighting a uphill battle. We had been doing Fertility Treatments but couldn’t this month due to a cyst so we went at it on our own. I had a PEAK read on my Ovulation Predictor on Day 12 and 13. I started Progesterone Cream on Day 15. On Day 20 I started seeing speckles brown spots on the tissue paper after I went to the bathroom. Same on Day 21. On Day 22 I saw quite a bit of pink in the morning and then again speckled brown throughout the day. On Day 23, there was an increase in the brown in the morning and then again speckled. Could this be considered a LPD?

    • Dear Chelsea,

      Spotting alone does not for me instantly signify Luteal Phase Defect. Do you know the length of your luteal phase? If not, have you considered charting your basal body temperature to determine luteal phase length? Are cycle days 20-23 the days during which you normally menstruate? Have you confirmed you have low progesterone levels through testing to know that you in fact need to supplement with natural progesterone cream?

      Often spotting when using natural progesterone cream is a result of using a stronger dose than needed, or applying it on the wrong days of the cycle. Spotting can also be one result of estrogen receptor sites ‘waking up’ (being stimulated) – progesterone enhancing the action of estrogen for a short period of time – if you have just started supplementing natural progesterone cream after experiencing progesterone deficiency.

      Could this spotting a cycle change be a result of stopping the fertility treatments you were on? It may be worth asking your healthcare provider about this too.

      I hope this is helpful!

  39. Avatar

    I’m 30 and currently pregnant with our third child. Our first two I had no problems conceiving and got pregnant during my first cycle. With our third I was told I had LPD after several months of not being able to conceive. I finally conceived with clomid, estrace, and progesterone. Is there a chance after this baby my body will “reset” and I will go back to normal cycles or will I have LPD from now on?

    • Hello Ashley!

      Congratulations! How are you feeling?

      There is really know way of me knowing the answer to your question. Such extreme hormone shifts happen during pregnancy and after for a variety and reasons, that I am not sure even your healthcare provider will be able to know this for you.

      The great part about the luteal phase is that it may be able to be easily supported by natural therapies as you have read in this article.

      On behalf of our team, we wish for you a happy and healthy pregnancy, birth and baby!

  40. Avatar

    Hello. I have been tracking my last 2 cycles while TTC. I finished birth control pill in September and I have been trying to conceive October and November. So far, unsuccessful. I have noticed since tracking, my luteal phase was only 8 days one cycle and 9 days the other cycle. Is that too short to conceive? If so, how can I prevent this?

    • Hello Amanda!

      Experts are in agreement that a luteal phase shorter than 12 days is too short. Too few days after ovulation does not give the uterus sufficient time to build a nourishing lining supportive of implantation and a growing fetus. Miscarriage may happen as a result of a short luteal phase.

      Take time to reread the Natural Solutions section in this article for tips and guidance on what you might try.

      Best wishes to you!