How the Menstrual Cycle can Affect Fertility

It's no secret that the menstrual cycle can significantly impact overall health and many aspects of mental and physical well-being. We will cover the relationship between fertility and menstruation in detail, so you can be informed about this topic instead of guessing or making assumptions. 


Many women experience difficulty conceiving or carrying a healthy pregnancy due to an irregular cycle. Most notably, many studies suggest that menstrual irregularities are often experienced by those who struggle with fertility issues — such as women whose ovaries produce few eggs or those who do not ovulate regularly — because the melatonin released during the luteal phase may cause their body to resist conception due to its anti-fertility effects. 


So what exactly is the luteal phase, and why is it critical to fertility?

The menstrual cycle can be divided into 4 major stages: 
 Ovulation
 The luteal phase
 Follicular phase 
 Menstruation

The luteal phase starts after ovulation ends, on the first day of a woman's expected period, and is marked by either the formation of an egg within the ovary or pregnancy. In a normal menstrual cycle, the luteal phase lasts 14 days . The luteal phase is divided into two parts, a short luteal phase of 7 to 10 days. The length of the luteal phase is primarily dependent on the time of ovulation . If a woman does not have enough progesterone when she ovulates, then her body may be unable to sustain a pregnancy for long.

Luteal phase estrogen levels

The role of the luteal phase is critical for maintaining fertility due to its actions in ovulating or releasing an egg from its ovaries. When the body is ready for ovulation, the pituitary gland secretes a hormone called Luteinizing Hormone (LH) that triggers an increase in another hormone called estrogen. The rise in estrogen levels signals the body to release an egg. The egg is then caught by fimbriae, fingerlike projections at the end of each fallopian tube. The fimbriae sweep up the egg and carry it down to the uterus. It will hopefully be fertilized by sperm

If there is no fertilization and a woman does not get pregnant, progesterone levels will drop because they were not supplemented by a pregnant tissue or embryo, leading to menstruation.


Luteal phase and progesterone levels

The luteal phase is essential to every healthy pregnancy because it maintains the stability of progesterone levels in the body. If there is an imbalance or deficiency of progesterone, maintaining a healthy pregnancy may not be possible. Women who suffer from a luteal phase defect may have trouble sustaining a successful pregnancy. Anomalies in the levels of estrogen and progesterone can also have a detrimental effect on ovulation.

Long luteal phase and fertility

When the luteal phase is too long, it may be accompanied by an exaggerated version of women's symptoms during their premenstrual period. Women with a long luteal phase often experience more irritated skin, which indicates declining progesterone levels and increasing estrogen levels as well as hormonal imbalance. 

Short luteal phase and fertility 

When the luteal phase is too short, it can lead to a lack of progesterone production. This condition is known as a luteal phase defect. It can cause infertility because it prevents the release of an egg from the ovaries. It can cause your body to not ovulate regularly, meaning you have irregular periods or don't get regular periods. 


June is National Infertility Month

Determining the causes of infertility in women is sometimes a lengthy and emotionally challenging process.

Be sure to educate yourselves on the options available as you make decisions regarding fertility treatments for your future. 

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