Chinese Medicine & Luteal Phase Defect (LPD)

LPD or Luteal Phase Defect is probably one of the most prevalent diagnoses that I am faced with in fertility concerns. This is the topic that Chinese fertility experts have had great success in treating. Unequivocally, Chinese Medicine is the most powerful alternative treatment for LPD. It can help when western medicine fails.
What is commonly seen with a Luteal Phase Defect?
There are the technical answers, but they can be misleading more than anything. Sometimes the results are also mixed or unclear which makes the picture even more confusing. Most commonly, women may have been told that their Progesterone levels are low; yet oddly, taking progesterone still does not always help with fertility. Sometimes, after they ovulate, the temperature may only be up for a short period such as 7-9 days. Some women may present with reduced number of both pre-ovulatory and post-ovulatory days. Or, they may have a post ovulation phase of less than 14 days. This is certainly not unusual, but because of the complicated picture a clear diagnosis can be difficult to make by a reproductive specialist. Even when a diagnosis is made, other important factors may have been missed from the overall picture. Fortunately, with Chinese medicine all the signs and symptoms are telltales to the hormonal imbalances that are present which we can then work to regulate.

How does this work in terms of hormone levels and ovarian function?
Basically, if the follicle does not develop completely or properly, when it ruptures to release a follicle, it will not have sufficient capability to produce adequate amounts of Progesterone to maintain a higher basal body temperature. Also this will affect how the lining progresses to develop after ovulation which is imperative for implantation. However, simply adding progesterone does not rectify the myriad of hormonal changes that take place, not to mention the proper development of the lining and ovum to optimize fertilization and receptivity to hormonal triggers. If the lining has not developed properly, it will not express receptors that are needed to trigger delicate changes when they are signalled from hormones like progesterone. This is why simply receiving Progesterone is not the answer. In other instances, the follicle may not have even ruptured to release an egg at mid-cycle. This may also fall under the spectrum of LPD.

Why Chinese Medicine?
Most women who want to get pregnant are genuinely interested in having their body function as optimally as should and hopefully they get pregnant naturally, and certainly as quickly as possible. There is always the question of what is wrong with their body and how can they fix it. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there are a few methods to address this issue and actually correct the imbalances that are effecting the menstrual cycle and fertility.

When dealing with LPD, the aim is not just to increase your progesterone level. That is not as effective as improving the functioning of the entire endocrine and reproductive system. In this manner the body naturally optimizes the production of hormones and the development of the follicle as well as building a proper lining so that conception occurs. Sometimes this means even treating the partner, which can help the process.

Some women find that they may have a normal cycle, but that their temperature drops a few days before their menstruation starts. Sometimes, there are a few days of spotting before the end of the cycle. The menstrual cycle may be early or delayed and the timing for intercourse becomes difficult. Using Chinese medicine we can attempt to regulate the entire cycle so that everything happens as it should. Everyone is different and their signs and symptoms are different.

By diagnosing and treating based on what is out of balance the body begins to respond much better. For instance someone might find that they are getting up less frequently at night to go to washroom, or that they don’t feel as cold at night, or that their digestion and energy is much better.

Chinese medicine is very elegant system that has been dealing with fertility and gynecological issues for thousands of years. In the advent of modern clinical research and information sharing, the treatments have become more specific and better understood. Treating LPD is a very common and effective approach using this beautiful, traditional yet modern system.

Written by Sarkis Makarians