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Women's Health

Irregular Cycles and a Short Luteal Phase

01/11/2010

Question:

Hi There

I am 27 years old and a mother of 2. I have been experiencing very irregular cycles and a short luteal phase and am in need of some advice on what to do.

I have been charting my cycles for the past 3 months and my cycles look like this: Cycle #1: 31 Days Cycle #2: 49 Days Cycle #3: 26 Days

This past cycle (cycle #3), I seemed to have a very short luteal phase as well. I have been charting my basal body temperature and noticed that I ovulated on Decemeber 29, 2009 which was CD18. I got my period on January 7, 2010 on CD26. Which would mean I had an 8 day luteal phase. I have read that anything under 12 days is considered a Luteal Phase Defect.

The reason I came here for advice is because I have seen both a doctor and a midwife at two differnt practices (I saw my OBGYN and then got a second opinion with a midwife) that have told me what I am experiencing is competely normal. They both ran no tests and said they didn`t see a reason to. They both told me the most they could and would do was put me in birth control pills but since my husband and I are going to start trying to concieve our 3rd child this coming May (May 2010), they will not do that. Now I completely agree with why they do not want to put me on birth control pills at the moment, but I am very unsure if I agree with what I am experiencing being normal. From everything I have seen and read, what I am experiencing is not normal....so why am I being told it is?.

So my question is, should I look into this furthur, or is what I am experinencing really normal?

If you have any advice to share, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Answer:

What you are describing may be acceptable depending on the context. For instance, if you are young and healthy and not trying to have any children right now, then doing a further workup may not be necessary. You can regulate your cycles on birth control pills.

If you have been actively trying to conceive for at least a year and have not gotten pregnant despite the ovulation kits, etc., then a workup of your infertility would be reasonable. This would help determine if you are ovulating, have adequate hormone levels, and that your fallopian tubes are open and normal. If you have not been actively trying to conceive, then I would in May use your ovulation kits and attempt to conceive for 3-6 months; menstrual cycles do not have to be normal for ovulation to occur.

Also, you could always seek a second opinion if you are not able to get adequate information from your doctors or midwife.

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Response by:

Esa M Davis, MD, MPH Esa M Davis, MD, MPH
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University