Skip to main content


Close Cart

Your cart is empty.

Shop Oova Kit

What Is A Short Luteal Phase And How Does It Affect My Ability to Get Pregnant?

05.24.2022 / Thomas Gapinski
Why is a short luteal phase so important?

If you're trying to get pregnant, you might focus entirely on the ovulation phase of your cycle,  because you know that you have to have sex during your ovulation phase to increase your chances of conceiving. But the other phases of your cycle, like the follicular and luteal phase, are just as important — as they’re what causes ovulation to happen in the first place. If you’re trying to conceive, knowing whether you have a short luteal phase is crucial in your pregnancy journey. 

So, what is a short luteal phase and how does it affect your fertility? We’ll cover:

What is the luteal phase?

The luteal phase is the last phase of your menstruation cycle. As the egg travels down the fallopian tube, the follicle, which once held it, becomes the corpus luteum. You can think of it as an empty sac that releases progesterone and a small amount of estrogen. These hormones signal the body to thicken the endometrium and prepare it for implantation. 

If implantation occurs, progesterone and estrogen stay elevated. If the egg does not implant, the corpus luteum dies, and the drop in hormones triggers menstruation once again.

Your hormone levels are crucial indicators of whether you’re ovulating and release an egg with each cycle. That’s why it’s impotant to track your progesterone levels and LH to ensure that you ovulate and release an egg with each cycle. 

What counts as a “short luteal phase?”

A typical luteal phase lasts anywhere between 11 and 17 days. While most women of reproductive age fall between this range, some women experience luteal phase defect (LPD) or a short luteal phase. 

Does a short luteal phase affect my ability to become pregnant?

A short luteal phase can pose a problem for women who want to become pregnant because it makes the implantation process much harder. 

How? When you have a short luteal phase, the body doesn't produce enough progesterone, and the uterine lining does not fully develop — meaning it’s much harder for an egg to implant. 

If the egg does implant, having a miscarriage is possible because low progesterone can shed the uterine lining prematurely and excrete the fertilized embryo. 

How to tell if you have a short luteal phase

There are two main ways to tell if you have a short luteal phase: symptoms and hormone tracking.

Short luteal phase symptoms

Unfortunately, the symptoms of a short luteal phase are not always obvious. You might not even realize you have the problem until you can’t conceive. 

However, there are a few symptoms that could give you a glimpse into this issue:

  • Irregular cycles: People with a short luteal phase may get their periods closer to when they’ve ovulated, usually 10-16 days after. 
  • Spotting: Similar to irregular cycles, those with short luteal phases might experience spotting between their periods. In some cases, your period might come earlier than usual.
  • Miscarriages: As mentioned above, a short luteal phase can make it harder for the uterine lining to build up and support an implanted egg, leading to miscarriage.
  • Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal imbalances are best checked with hormone tests (see below), but there are often physical symptoms associated with them, such as mood changes, breast tenderness, and changes in cervical mucus.

Hormone tracking

Another way to discover the length of your luteal phase is to use a hormone tracking kit, like Oova. Oova uses advanced image processing to measure precise hormone levels from your urine, like progesterone. From the test, you’ll be able to understand your unique hormone levels and get answers about whether you might have a short luteal phase — all from the comfort of your home. 


What causes a short luteal phase?

A short luteal phase may be due to a variety of factors, from reproductive disorders to life factors. Some common causes include:

  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Obesity
  • Anorexia
  • Stress
  • Excessive exercise
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • Medications, like hormonal birth control

These causes often have to do with how the factor affects your hormone levels, particularly your level of progesterone.

What to do if you have a short luteal phase

If you discover you have a short luteal phase, the best thing you can do is to consult a healthcare professional. They might recommend a variety of treatment, including:

  • Hormone supplements: Because a short luteal phase corresponds with low progesterone, a doctor may prescribe supplements to help you boost the hormone. 
  • Addressing reproductive disorders and health issues: If a health issue like PCOS or thyroid disorder is causing your short luteal phase, your treatment may focus on managing these health issues first. (Learn more about PCOS treatment options.)
  • Lifestyle modifications: If your short luteal phase is stemming from factors like stress, excessive exercise, or poor diet, your doctor might help you plan to tackle these issues. For example, you might try to reduce stress by focusing on calming or therapy techniques, stop excessive exercise with a new exercise plan, or get more nutrients in with a new diet.

Having a short luteal phase can pose difficulties if you try to get pregnant, but it does not mean you can’t have children. There are various treatment options, so don’t lose hope! 

Keeping track of your cycle is an excellent way to stay ahead of the issue and catch it early. Learn more about Oova and start tracking your cycle today.

Life With Oova

Join our community

Share your own stories with #MyFertilityTranslator