Luteal phase

Menstrual cycle

On average 28 days in length.

- Luteal phase

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Corpus luteum

Temporary endocrine structure in female ovaries and is involved in the production of relatively high levels of progesterone and moderate levels of estradiol and inhibin A.

Steroidogenesis, with progesterone in yellow field at upper center. The androgens are shown in blue field, and aromatase at lower center - the enzyme present in granulosa lutein cells that convert androgens into estrogens (shown in pink triangle).
Vaginal ultrasound showing a corpus luteum in a pregnant woman, with a fluid-filled cavity in its center.
Order of changes in ovary
Human ovary with fully developed corpus luteum
Luteinized follicular cyst. H&E stain.

The corpus luteum develops from an ovarian follicle during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle or oestrous cycle, following the release of a secondary oocyte from the follicle during ovulation.

Follicle-stimulating hormone

Gonadotropin, a glycoprotein polypeptide hormone.

FSH (α-FSH (green), β-FSH (orange)) with receptors (blue)
Reference ranges for the blood content of follicle-stimulating hormone levels during the menstrual cycle. 
 - The ranges denoted By biological stage may be used in closely monitored menstrual cycles in regard to other markers of its biological progression, with the time scale being compressed or stretched to how much faster or slower, respectively, the cycle progresses compared to an average cycle.
 - The ranges denoted Inter-cycle variability are more appropriate to use in non-monitored cycles with only the beginning of menstruation known, but where the woman accurately knows her average cycle lengths and time of ovulation, and that they are somewhat averagely regular, with the time scale being compressed or stretched to how much a woman's average cycle length is shorter or longer, respectively, than the average of the population.
 - The ranges denoted Inter-woman variability are more appropriate to use when the average cycle lengths and time of ovulation are unknown, but only the beginning of menstruation is given.
Follicle-stimulating hormone

In females, FSH initiates follicular growth, specifically affecting granulosa cells. With the concomitant rise in inhibin B, FSH levels then decline in the late follicular phase. This seems to be critical in selecting only the most advanced follicle to proceed to ovulation. At the end of the luteal phase, there is a slight rise in FSH that seems to be of importance to start the next ovulatory cycle.


Release of eggs from the ovaries.

Following a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH), an oocyte (immature egg cell) will be released into the uterine tube, where it will then be available to be fertilized by a male's sperm within 12 hours. Ovulation marks the end of the follicular phase of the ovarian cycle and the start of the luteal phase.
Ovulation occurs about midway through the menstrual cycle, after the follicular phase, and is followed by the luteal phase. Note that ovulation is characterized by a sharp spike in levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), resulting from the peak of estrogen levels during the follicular phase.
This diagram shows the hormonal changes around the time of ovulation, as well as the inter-cycle and inter-female variabilities in its timing.
Chance of fertilization by day relative to ovulation

After ovulation, during the luteal phase, the egg will be available to be fertilized by sperm.

Premenstrual syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to emotional and physical symptoms that regularly occur in the one to two weeks before the start of each menstrual period.

Signs including (enlarged liver and spleen), and symptoms (including headache, and vomiting) of acute HIV infection.

While PMS is linked to the luteal phase, the causes of PMS are not clear, but several factors may be involved.

Menstrual cycle

Series of natural changes in hormone production and the structures of the uterus and ovaries of the female reproductive system that make pregnancy possible.

Menstrual cycle
Progression of the menstrual cycle and some of the hormones contributing to it
An ovary about to release an egg
The anatomy of the uterus
During the menstrual cycle, levels of estradiol (an estrogen) vary by 200 percent. Levels of progesterone vary by over 1200 percent.
A human primary ovarian follicle viewed by microscopy. The round oocyte stained red in the center is surrounded by a layer of granulosa cells, which are enveloped by the basement membrane and theca cells. The magnification is around 1000 times. (H&E stain)

The ovarian cycle consists of the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase; the uterine cycle consists of the menstrual, proliferative and secretory phases.


Category of sex hormone responsible for the development and regulation of the female reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics.

Estradiol, the major estrogen sex hormone in humans and a widely used medication.
Reference ranges for the blood content of estradiol, the primary type of estrogen, during the menstrual cycle.
Steroidogenesis, showing estrogens at bottom right as in pink triangle.

Research has predicted increased emotional eating during hormonal flux, which is characterized by high progesterone and estradiol levels that occur during the mid-luteal phase.


Endogenous steroid and progestogen sex hormone involved in the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and embryogenesis of humans and other species.

During the menstrual cycle, levels of estradiol (an estrogen) vary by 200 percent. Levels of progesterone vary by over 1200 percent.
Micrograph showing changes to the endometrium due to progesterone (decidualization) H&E stain.
Steroidogenesis, showing progesterone among the progestogens in yellow area.
Progesterone levels across the menstrual cycle in normally cycling and ovulatory women. The horizontal lines are the mean integrated levels for each curve. The vertical line is mid-cycle.
A sample of progesterone.
The Marker semisynthesis of progesterone from diosgenin.
Stigmasterol to progesterone synthesis.
The Johnson total synthesis of progesterone.

In women, progesterone levels are relatively low during the preovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle, rise after ovulation, and are elevated during the luteal phase, as shown in the diagram above.

Menstrual synchrony

Contested process whereby women who begin living together in close proximity would experience their menstrual cycle onsets becoming more synchronized together in time than when previously living apart.

Women's string figure depicting the "menstrual blood of three women", illustrating the Yolngu people's tribal mythology of menstrual synchrony.
Two women dancing. Rock engraving from the Upper Yule River, Pilbara, Western Australia.
Group synchrony scores over time with 99% confidence intervals from McClintock's study (an approximation of Fig 1). In October, the mean onset difference was about 6.5 days and by the end of the study the mean onset difference decreased by almost 2 days.
Bedouin women from Israel.
Dogon women pounding millet.
An illustration of menstrual cycle convergence and divergence as described in Yang and Schank. For illustration, A and B have menses duration of four days each. A has 28-day cycles and B has 30-day cycles.  The first onset of B that appears is 14 days earlier than A's.  Red vertical lines indicate menses overlap or meet.  In this example, cycles gradually converge and A and B may "experience" synchrony for five months.
Figure a. Females competing for good genes should avoid ovulatory synchrony. Moving from one female to the next, a single dominant male under these conditions can exercise a monopoly. Key: Circle = female. Pointer = ovulation. Triangle = male.
Figure b. Females in need of male time and energy should synchronise their cycles, preventing any single male from monopolising access.
A golden lion tamarin

She provided three groups of rats with airborne odors from female rats in three different phases of the estrous cycle: ovulatory phase, follicular phase, and luteal phase.


Recurrence of a past condition.

A transverse segment fMRI scan showing activated regions in orange.

There is a marked increase in progesterone levels and a decrease in estradiol levels during the luteal phase.

Basal metabolic rate

Rate of energy expenditure per unit time by endothermic animals at rest.

Indirect calorimetry laboratory with canopy hood (dilution technique)
Postprandial thermogenesis increases in basal metabolic rate occur at different degrees depending on consumed food composition.

Due to the increase in progesterone, BMR rises at the start of the luteal phase and stays at its highest until this phase ends.