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Fertility Network UK
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Can progesterone really help with a short luteal phase?

I had a call from my fertility consultant yesterday who essentially told me it is self funded ivf or nothing for me in terms of treatment.

I already have a child, though it did take us over 18 months to conceive.

When we got to a year of trying this time I went to my GP and was referred straight away (last July). We discovered I had an under active thyroid which we only got under control before Christmas after a lot of too’ing and fro’ing between consultants and GP’s.

All other tests are ok, I am 36.

I have a short luteal phase of around 10 days. The doc would not entertain this :( she says physiologically it is the length of the follicular phase that varies not the luteal phase...! So how does a luteal phase defect happen then...?!

I asked about progesterone for lengthening my luteal phase and she directed me to look at the PROMISE trial as it shows progesterone does not work. But this trial is looking at improving outcomes in women with a history of recurrent miscarriages not helping implantation.

Does anyone know of any other trials or research that I could refer to, or thoughts in general about taking progesterone for short cycles?

I am super fed up with this now.

2 Replies

Hi hun. In answer to your question, yes, the right type of progesterone will lengthen your luteal phase. But it may not be what you need. Your specialist is right that it is the follicular phase that tends to vary, but the luteal phase can differ by a day or 2. If your problem is specific to progesterone, the right type will help. My progesterone was always a decent high level a few days after ovulation but it would dip anything from 5dpo onwards. At the first dip I'd bleed. That would taper off as my levels evened out, but then it would dip again, another bleed, taper off and so on. I was unable to get pregnant with this problem as I'd constantly be losing the top layer of my lining, completely preventing implantation.

It took 11 months for me to convince the specialist I needed the right type of progesterone to stop this from happening. During that time I tried progesterone cream (prevented the spotting only once up to 11dpo, otherwise didn't help), and provera, which is a totally pointless type of progesterone for any luteal phase defect. I finally got cyclogest in November, no spotting that month and a bfp in December. The only thing that convinced the specialist to give me cyclogest was a chemical my first month on provera. (Second and third month followed my usual pattern of spotting)

Back to your situation. A 10 day luteal phase is not too short to prevent you getting pregnant. 8 days or less is usually considered a problem so please don't lose hope. You could, if you want, try vitamin B6 to help lengthen your luteal phase, but remember to take it with B12 and a B-complex at the same time. This made no difference to me but plenty of other women swear by it. You could also try improving egg quality in the follicular phase by taking ubiquinol daily and eating lots of free range organic eggs (both my chemical and bfp came after eating lots of eggs). Some women are prescribed clomid for the same reason but I don't know the success rates there.

I do think, however, your thyroid issues have been the biggest problem so far and it's great these have now been fixed. Personally I'd give that a couple of months, perhaps with the B6 and ubiquinol if you wanted to. If you have a good GP, in a few months you could perhaps ask for a private prescription of cyclogest, it would be a lot cheaper than IVF but hopefully you'll find that you're pregnant before then. Good luck, and if you have any questions just ask xx


I know this has nothing to do with progesterone, but have you considered acupuncture? I don't think my luteal phase was particularly short, but I've heard acupuncture can just really help to regulate your cycles.

I saw an acupuncturist a few times a month. I was ovulating regularly but I found seeing her really relaxing and a great way to destress, which of course is important when trying to conceive.


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