A luteal phase defect is when the uterus does not adequately respond to progesterone to hold the typical 14-day luteal phase. Progesterone output from the corpus luteum may be adequate, but the tissues are unresponsive. Thus, progesterone administration rarely cures luteal phase defect. At ties, the uterine lining does not exhibit the proteins that are necessary for implantation to occur. Sometimes, the immune system reacts against an implanting embryo, and lowers the response to progesterone. Occasionally, the endometrium thins and sheds before menstruation, which does not allow an implanting embryo to remain.
Chinese medicine views the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle energetically. We see that the kidney essence must be adequate to produce progesterone and hold the heating aspect of the menstrual cycle. Spleen qi must be able to “hold” the energies that allow implantation. The qi and blood must be unobstructed, without excess heat or dampness.
HERB-005 Tonify Kidney Qi: Luteal Phase Support helps the body encourage progesterone production by strengthening corpus luteal function. It encourages your body to develop the vascularization, glandular development and proteins necessary for implantation, and hold the kidney energies. This formula may be used following any follicular phase formula. It may be used alone or can be combined with Vitalize Spleen, Resolve Stagnation, and Invigorate Blood formulas.
Soaking your feet in a warm Epsom salt bath each night can also help tonify the kidney energies. Eating walnuts,, pumpkin seeds and yams can also help build up the energies that support progesterone production.
I do not advocate limiting your activities during the luteal phase, unless you tire easily. Any mild exercise that you enjoy during the first half of the cycle is appropriate for the latter half of the cycle. Throughout history, nature did not intend that you even know that you might be pregnant until a period was missed. Nature wasn’t mistaken. I think the wisdom of nature was well aware that if the human psyche got involved in thinking we could control implantation, our own stress mechanisms would make it worse. Relax. It’s the best thing you can do for your fertility. Live your life as if your future child was evaluating what life with you would be like. Would they want you to be stressed? Neurotically trying to control their entrance?
I had some luteal phase issues, and the one month I thought there was no chance I could be pregnant, I stopped supplementing with progesterone. I stopped taking my herbs. I went on a ski trip that I never would have gone on if I thought I might be pregnant. Nature knew better. That was the month I let go, and all of the things that I had been doing (acupuncture, meditation, qi gong, and herbs) were finally allowed to take hold. The one missing ingredient was that I was trying to control all of these things. When I let go the energies opened up and allowed a pregnancy.