Friday, March 26th, 2010

Progesterone Hormone

020903_1662_0064_oshs-FBProgesterone is a female hormone produced by the ovaries during release of a mature egg from an ovary (ovulation). Progesterone helps prepare the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to receive the egg if it becomes fertilized by a sperm. If the egg is not fertilized, progesterone levels drop and menstrual bleeding begins.

During pregnancy, the placenta also produces high levels of progesterone, starting near the end of the first trimester and continuing until the baby is born. Levels of progesterone in a pregnant woman are about 10 times higher than they are in a woman who is not pregnant.

Some types of cancer cause abnormal progesterone levels in men and women. When women reach their 30′s or 40′s, their progesterone level can drop naturally, causing menstruation to occur more frequently. Low levels of progesterone and high levels of estrogen hormone—primary female sex hormone, can lead to a number of problems in women that can affect their fertility and chances of getting pregnant. The problems that can occur with low progesterone levels include:

  • Tissue buildup
  • Heavy menstrual flow
  • Spotting between periods
  • Symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrom)
  • Miscarriage


A progesterone test is done to

  • Help find the cause of infertility
  • Monitor the success of medicines for infertility or the effect of treatment with progesterone.
  • Help determine whether ovulation is occurring.
  • Assess the risk of miscarriage
  • Monitor the function of the ovaries and placenta during pregnancy.
  • Help diagnose problems with the adrenal glands and some types of cancer.


Before the test your doctor may ask you to to stop taking medicines (including birth control pills) that contain estrogen or progesterone, or both, for up to 4 weeks.

Tell your health professional if you have had a test that used a radioactive substance (tracer) within the last 7 days. Recent tests such as a thyroid scan or bone scan that used a radioactive tracer can interfere with the test results.

Let your health professional know the first day of your last menstrual period. If your bleeding pattern is light or begins with spotting, the first day is the day of heaviest bleeding.

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