What is the Luteal phase and when does it start?
The luteal phase is the last part of a woman's menstrual cycle. It is the period that occurs shortly after ovulation and lasts until the start of the next menstrual period. For most women, the luteal phase lasts about 12 to 14 days but the length can vary individually.
During the luteal phase, the female body prepares for a possible pregnancy. If the egg cell released during ovulation is fertilized by sperm, it usually attaches itself to the uterus during the luteal phase and the process of developing an embryo begins. If fertilization does not occur, the body will prepare for a new menstrual cycle.
What happens in the body during the Luteal phase
The luteal phase begins with ovulation when an egg cell is released from the ovary and then moves to the fallopian tube. If the egg is fertilized, it attaches itself to the uterus and develops into an embryo. At the same time, a temporary gland (corpus luteum) that has formed from the egg follicle from which the egg came begins to produce hormones such as progesterone.
Progesterone is the central hormone during the luteal phase when it affects the endometrium to receive a fertilized egg. The process results in the mucous membrane becoming thicker and more nourishing. Progesterone also helps prevent new ovulations from occurring during the luteal phase, which could lead to parallel pregnancies.
If the egg is not fertilized, the production of progesterone decreases, which leads to the endometrium gradually withering and finally being secreted. This is what results in menstruation and the start of a new menstrual cycle.
Hormonal process and influence during luteal phase
During the luteal phase, hormones, especially progesterone and estrogen, affect many of the physiological processes. Progesterone is primarily responsible for maintaining a possible pregnancy and preventing new ovulations. Estrogen helps to prepare the lining of the uterus to be receptive in the event of implantation if conception occurs.
The hormonal balance during the luteal phase is highly sensitive and can be affected by several factors. If a woman experiences or suffers from hormonal imbalances, it can affect the ability to get pregnant and cause symptoms such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Symptoms and complaints during the Luteal phase
For many women, the luteal phase can be associated with specific symptoms and complaints. Common symptoms include breast tension, mood swings, irritability, breast swelling and tenderness, as well as increased PMS symptoms. Some women may also experience symptoms such as headaches, migraines, fatigue, abdominal pain and decreased sexual desire.
It is important to remember that the symptoms can be highly individual and some can be more sensitive to hormonal changes than others. If the symptoms are perceived as troublesome and affect your quality of life, it may be a good idea to test your hormonal balance during the luteal phase in order to gain insight into your hormones and further consult a doctor or gynecologist to discuss possible treatment options.