Overview of Progesterone
What is Progesterone?
Preparation for Progesterone
- No special preparation required
Why Get Tested for Progesterone?
The Progesterone Test is performed:
· To help in identification of cause of female infertility by helping track ovulation (release of egg from ovary)
· To help diagnose an ectopic pregnancy (a condition where the fertilised egg is implanted somewhere other than the uterus)
· To monitor the treatment with progesterone hormone
· To monitor the health of the fetus and placenta, especially in high risk pregnancy
· To determine the cause of abnormal bleeding from the uterus
Understand more about Progesterone
Progesterone is a steroid hormone which helps to prepare the female body for pregnancy and maintain normal menstrual cycle working together with other female hormones. Every month, the menstrual cycle is started with an increase in the level of estrogen hormone. This causes thickening of the inner lining of the uterus called endometrium. This coincides with an increase in levels of luteinizing hormone which induces the release of an egg from the ovary. Subsequently, a structure called corpus luteum forms on the ovary at the site where the egg was released. The corpus luteum produces progesterone hormone which arrests the endometrial growth and prepares the uterus for implantation of the fertilized egg.
At this juncture one of two things may happen. If the egg remains unfertilized, the corpus luteum slowly breaks down and progesterone levels fall. This induces breakdown of the endometrial lining and menstrual bleeding starts. However, if the egg is fertilized and attaches to the endometrium, the corpus luteum does not degenerate and continues progesterone secretion, thereby maintaining the thickened endometrial lining. After a few weeks of pregnancy, the placenta becomes fully formed and takes over the function of progesterone secretion and till the completion of pregnancy. Therefore, increased progesterone levels are seen in pregnancy.
Level of progesterone also fluctuates during normal menstrual cycle. Progesterone is secreted in much lower amounts in males, and is considered to play a small role in sperm development.
Few cancers can also result in abnormal progesterone levels in men and women.
What Results of Progesterone mean?
If the result of a single progesterone test falls outside the normal range, it cannot be considered an abnormal result since progesterone levels change continuously. Abnormal results appear if the patient’s blood progesterone levels fall outside the normal range in multiple subsequent tests.
Apart from pregnancy, higher than normal progesterone levels can appear in case of:
· Ovarian cysts
· Ovarian cancer
· Molar pregnancy or non-viable pregnancy
· Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)
· Adrenal cancer
Lower than normal progesterone levels can appear in case of:
· Amenorrhea or no menstruation
· Ectopic pregnancy
· Miscarriage or death of fetus
Patient Concerns about Progesterone
Frequently Asked Questions about Progesterone