Your cycle is broken down into two parts. Pre-ovulation which is referred to as the follicular phase, this is is the part of the cycle where the follicle is growing and getting ready to release an egg. The second part of your cycle is called the luteal phase and this happens after ovulation. This is when the mature egg implants into the uterine lining and after it is fertilized and gets ready to become a baby and grow for 9 months. If the embryo fails to implant your cycle ends and this is when your period would start and the first day of your new cycle begins.
Follicular phases can vary in length from 28 days, 30 days and even 32 days. The average 28-day cycle women has a 14-day follicular phase and a 14-day luteal phase. The length of time is determined by the follicle’s growth rate as the follicular phase will continue until the egg matures and is released. This could happen earlier than 14 days and even a few days after 14 days.
The luteal phase doesn’t really vary in length like the follicular phase. The length of the luteal phase is determined by the corpus luteum that is left after the egg is released from the follicle. The breaking down of the corpus luteum and the end of the cycle usually happens around 12–14 days after ovulation unless implantation occurs.
In some women, it happens much sooner or the corpus luteum doesn’t secrete enough progesterone causing there not to be enough buildup of the endometrial lining for implantation. This would cause early miscarriage or Infertility (failure to conceive).
There are tests to determine if you suffer from luteal phase defect and the least invasive test is called a 21-day progesterone test. The test will be carried out on day 21 of your cycle should you cycle be the average 28 days and you ovulate on day 14. Your Doctor would want to see at least 10 –20ng /mLs of progesterone.
Luteal Phase Defect can be treated with progesterone supplements and follicular-stimulating hormones without conducting more tests. If your progesterone levels are considered normal your doctor would then do a 21-day sonogram and later an endometrial biopsy if your sonogram revealed your endometrial lining is too thin.
Treatment to nurture your follicles could include anything to improve your follicles and stimulate follicle growth. After ovulation, vaginal suppositories or oral Progesterone would be prescribed.