By Ruth Eze, 06/07/2018
Progesterone is a sex hormone produced in the body by the adrenal glands, the ovaries, and the placenta.
It is a pregnancy hormone that regulates menstrual cycles and also sustains pregnancy.
A high level of progesterone during pregnancy and childbearing stage is important, it helps with implantation and maintenance of pregnancy.
Progesterone deficiency or low progesterone levels during this fertile age can make you unable to get or stay with pregnancy.
Animals with low progesterone showed reproductive difficulties such as the inability to ovulate, the inability to exhibit sexual behavior, uterine hyperplasia, and limited mammary gland development (1)
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Functions of progesterone
Progesterone plays a vital role in reproduction starting from ovulation, implantation and pregnancy maintenance.
Every month after ovulation, progesterone and estrogen thicken the lining of the uterium to receive a fertilized egg.
If fertilization does not occur, the corpus letum breaks down, leading to menstruation flow, and a drop in progesterone level.
But if there is fertilization, the progesterone assists in egg implantation, and in maintaining the endometrium till birth. (2)
Progesterone also assists in breast development, spermatogenesis, regulation of menstruation during pregnancy and in preventing muscle contraction in the uterus during implantation.
The progesterone level is measured with a serum progesterone test, usually done in the hospital.
It is used to monitor hormone replacement therapy and to trace the cause of infertility.
Normally, the progesterone level of a pregnant woman is always higher than non-pregnant ones, because of their importance in maintaining pregnancy.
Below are the normal progesterone test results for a pregnant woman.
- 1-28 ng/ml in the mid-luteal phase
- 9-47 ng/ml in the first trimester
- 17-146 ng/ml during the second trimester
- 49-300 ng/ml in the third trimester
High Progesterone level
This is when the level of progesterone is above normal. It usually rises during pregnancy because of their importance in maintaining the endometrium. However, the high level of progesterone outside pregnancy may be caused by
- Adrenal cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Congenital cancer.
Symptoms of High Progesterone level
High levels of pregnancy hormones in the body can lead to some premenstrual syndrome signs like:
- Frequent sleeping
- Increase in stomach bloat
- Breast tenderness
- Unstable mood.
Side Effects of High Progesterone level
When there is a high concentration of Luteal Hormones in the body, it can lead to some effects like
- Breast enlargement
- Weight gain
- Skin Rashes
Progesterone Deficiency/low progesterone level
Progesterone deficiency or low progesterone level is when there is little or no progesterone in the bloodstream.
This is caused by
- Impaired ovaries
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Lack of menstruation
- Failure to ovulate
Women with low progesterone have irregular menstruation coupled with the difficulty in getting pregnant.
And those who conceived have a greater chance of miscarriage and premature delivery.
Other signs of low progesterone are
- Frequent miscarriage
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Premature delivery
- Irregular period
- A decrease in sex drive
- Weight gain
How to Increase Progesterone Level
The level of progesterone hormone can be increased either with progesterone pills (progestins) or through the natural method.
The pills are usually made from a combination of estrogen and progesterone to help
- Increase the progesterone level
- Prevent endometrium cancer
- Sustains a pregnancy.
. Progestin pills can also treat complications such as:
- Uterine bleeding
- Menopause-related symptoms
- Irregular menstruation
- Uterine cancer
- Uterine cancer
- Breast cancer
- It is also used to measure the effects of estrogen in the uterine lining.
- It can also be used with birth control pills to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Types of progesterone supplements
The progesterone supplements are of two major types, the natural progesterone, and the progestin also known as progesterone pills.
- The natural progesterone is made with diosgenin, a compound that can be extracted from wild yam or soy. It is considered bioidentical because of its similarity with human-produced progesterone.
2. The progesterone pills (progestin) are produced in the laboratory, either in cream or tablet form.
Progesterone suppository and creams are often used to treat progesterone deficiency, infertility, and other related problems by inserting the gel into the vagina. An example of such cream is progesterone pessaries.
While oral progestin is taken via the mouth. An example is Provera.