Progesterone is a steroid hormone belonging to a class of hormonal agents called progestogens. It is produced by the corpus luteum, a short-lived endocrine gland that the female body produces after ovulation throughout the 2nd half of the menstrual cycle.

Artificial steroid hormones with progesterone-like residential or commercial properties are called progestins. Progestin is often integrated with estrogen, another hormonal agent, to establish contraceptives such as birth control pills and skin patches. Progestin is also helpful in treating common menopausal signs. Understanding progesterone and progestins will assist women make notified options about their reproductive health. [1]

Where It’s Made

In males and women, a percentage of progesterone is made in the adrenal glands, which launch hormonal agents for a range of bodily functions.

In females, progesterone is primarily produced by the corpus luteum, a part of the ovary. The corpus luteum develops from the roots that releases an egg from the ovary for ovulation.

In females, progesterone is likewise made by the placenta, an organ that develops during pregnancy to help support the fetus.

It’s made to a lower degree by the testes of those appointed male a birth.


Progesterone is produced primarily by the ovary after ovulation and the placenta during pregnancy. It’s also made in lesser amounts by the adrenal glands and the testes. [2]

Progesterone Levels, Fertility, and Pregnancy

Progesterone is essential for pregnancy due to the fact that it gets the uterus ready to accept, implant, and maintain a fertilized egg. The hormonal agent avoids contraction from taking place in the uterus that would trigger a lady’s body to decline an egg.

If you become pregnant, the hormonal agent assists develop an environment that nurtures the establishing baby.

Your progesterone level will gradually increase in between your 9th and 32nd weeks of pregnancy.

The Function of the Placenta in Progesterone Production

The placenta (the structure inside the uterus that offers oxygen and nutrients to a developing baby) will start to produce progesterone after 8 to 10 weeks of pregnancy to help maintain a healthy environment for the child. At this moment, the placenta increases progesterone production to a greater rate than your ovaries were producing. These high levels of progesterone throughout your pregnancy trigger the body to stop producing more eggs, in addition to prepare your breasts to produce milk.

Fertility Issues and Progesterone Tests

If you’re having a difficult time getting pregnant, your doctor may recommend a blood test for progesterone to see if you’re ovulating or if your ovaries are healthy.

If your progesterone level is low but you are pregnant, your medical professional might recommend a blood test to check whether your pregnancy is at threat for complications, such as miscarriage or preterm shipment.

Signs and symptoms that suggest you might have a low progesterone level consist of the following:.

  • Uterine bleeding
  • Missing your durations or having abnormal durations
  • Spotting and pain while pregnant
  • Repeated miscarriages

Not having enough progesterone can also trigger you to have too much estrogen. A high level of estrogen can decrease your libido, cause weight gain, and affect your gallbladder.

Progesterone as a Medication and Treatment

Progesterone is part of a class of medications called progestins.

If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, or if you’re going through fertility treatments, your physician might suggest that you take progesterone hormone therapy.

This can be provided for any of the following reasons:.

  • To bring on menstruation
  • Because your ovaries don’t produce adequate progesterone
  • Because medications you take are decreasing your progesterone level
  • To change progesterone that’s eliminated from your ovaries by certain procedures
  • There are numerous different kinds of progesterone readily available, so talk with your medical professional about which kind is best for you.

Progesterone Treatment Delivery Systems

Progesterone treatments can be found in the list below forms:.

  • Vaginal gel that’s generally used once per day
  • Vaginal suppository, which can be compounded at specialized pharmacies however is not approved by the Fda (FDA)
  • Vaginal inserts, which the FDA has actually authorized for progesterone supplementation, not replacement
  • Oral pill that’s placed vaginally (not authorized by the FDA)
  • Injection, the most frequently utilized method, which needs everyday injections in the butt [3]


Progesterone substances used for medical usages are called progestogens. They are readily available in 2 kinds: synthetic variations (progestins) and another version derived from plant sources, which is almost similar to the body’s own hormone and is often called “natural progesterone.”.

In addition to being consisted of in birth control pills and hormonal agent replacement treatment, progestogens may be used to treat a variety of conditions, including:.

  • menstrual or bleeding problems
  • endometriosis
  • breast, kidney or uterine cancer
  • appetite and weight-loss in AIDS and cancer patients

They are likewise used as a diagnostic help to measure estrogen’s impact in the uterine lining, and in their natural state may be utilized to treat infertility.

If you are considering a progestogen item, discuss with your healthcare expert any medical conditions you might have, particularly asthma, epilepsy, cardiovascular or bleeding disorders, high cholesterol, history of embolism or stroke, kidney or liver disorders, migraines, breast issues, depression or diabetes. Likewise share information about any medications you are taking.

Typical negative effects of progestins consist of:

  • development bleeding
  • menstrual cramps
  • bloating triggered by water weight gain
  • lightheadedness
  • moodiness
  • dry mouth
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • irritability

Much of these negative effects imitate PMS, which is not surprising considering that PMS normally occurs when progesterone levels peak. Some females experience rarer side effects like depression, fainting, breast tenderness, problem sleeping, extreme headaches or vision issues.

Speak with your health care expert if you experience side effects. Many of these adverse effects decrease with continued use. If not, switching to a different progestin-based product may assist.

Uses of Progestin Products

Abnormal uterine bleeding: Because of their capability to inhibit bleeding, progestins are often used to manage extreme or irregular uterine bleeding (AUB).

Endometriosis: Endometriosis might be treated with a progestin or with an estrogen-progestin birth control pill. The goal is to decrease estrogen production, thus keeping endometrial tissue from growing.

Irregular durations and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): The shedding of the uterine lining that occurs with menstruation every month minimizes the danger of endometrial cancer; therefore, maintaining menstrual cycles is important throughout childbearing years. If you regularly skip durations due to PCOS, being overweight or underweight, or because of another disorder, your healthcare professional may advise contraceptive pill consisting of estrogen and progestin to ensure regular cycles. If you can’t or won’t take birth control pills, you may need a periodic prescription for an oral progestin to assist you stabilize unopposed estrogen and shed the uterine lining.

Contraception: Contraceptive pills typically consist of estrogen and progestin. Mix pills suppress ovulation (the release of an egg) monthly. The progestin in these tablets also reduces the danger of pregnancy by altering the mucus in your cervix, making it harder for the sperm to move and get in touch with an egg. Continuous progestins in mix contraceptive pill likewise avoid the growth of the endometrium and modify uterine secretions to reduce the opportunity that a fertilized egg might implant in the uterine lining.

Combination tablets been available in various formulas. Some are based upon a 28-day routine (21 days of active tablets that contain the same amount of estrogen and progestin followed by 7 days of placebo tablets or no tablets at all), called monophasic birth control pills. Others differ the dosage of estrogen and/or progestin that a female gets throughout her cycle and are called multiphasic birth control pills.

There is a 91-day contraceptive pill routine (Seasonale and generics) that, offers ladies with birth control and less periods each year. Tablets consisting of the active hormones progestin (levonorgestrel) and an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) are considered 12 weeks (84 days), followed by one week of placebo tablets, so you only have 4 durations a year.

The FDA also has actually approved continuous-use contraceptive pill that contain ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel. Brand names include Lybrel, Alesse, Lessina, Nordette, Triphasil-28, Triphasil-21, and others. These are monophasic tablet (containing the very same levels of estrogen and progestin throughout the whole pill-taking schedule) that are available in a 28- or 21-day pack and are developed to be taken constantly, without any break between tablet packages. That implies you will not have a duration. You may have some finding or breakthrough bleeding, particularly when you initially begin utilizing continuous contraceptive pill. However the majority of females will have no bleeding (or hardly any) by the end of a year.

Estrogen-progestin contraceptive pill have some anti-cancer benefits in addition to birth control. They may decrease ovarian cancer threat, in addition to uterine and colon cancer risk. Nevertheless, mix pills are not advised for ladies who have had breast cancer.

It is essential to understand that not all of the concerns surrounding combined HRT and breast cancer threat have been addressed. If you have actually had breast cancer or have a history of it in your family, discuss your danger with your health care specialist.

These products also have adverse effects, the most typical of which are queasiness, breast tenderness and breakthrough bleeding. The majority of negative effects decrease or vanish after three months of constant use. Changing to another kind of birth control pill can likewise eliminate side effects. Queasiness may differ depending upon when you take the pills and whether you take them on a complete or empty stomach.

Combination birth control pills are typically not a suitable treatment choice if you are over 35 and smoke, have hypertension, have a history of migraine with aura or embolism in your lungs or you are highly conscious side effects of this medication, such as headaches. Smoking cigarettes while taking mix contraceptive pill considerably increases your danger of heart attack and stroke.

Estrogen-progestin contraceptives are offered as a spot (Ortho Evra) and as a ring (Nuvaring).

Ortho Evra is a weekly prescription patch that releases norelgestromin (a progestin hormonal agent) and ethinyl estradiol (an estrogen hormone) through the skin into the blood stream to prevent pregnancy. Each spot is used for one week. On the same day of the week you begin the spot, change it with another. After three weeks (and 3 brand-new patches) you have a week that is patch-free, during which you get your duration. Ortho Evra contains greater levels of estrogen than lower dose contraceptive pill, and the FDA approved additions to the spot’s label attending to an increased risk of embolism related to its usage. You ought to discuss this and other possible dangers with your healthcare professional.

Adverse effects might consist of breast tenderness, headache, a reaction at the application site, queasiness and psychological modifications. Other risks are similar to those from using contraceptive pill, such as an increased danger of cardiovascular disease, blood clots and stroke, particularly in females who smoke and/or have a history of these conditions.

Another contraceptive which contains progesterone is Nuvaring, which includes a soft, versatile, transparent, ring about 2 inches in size. It consists of a mix of estrogen and progestin hormones (ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel). After it is placed into the vaginal area, these hormonal agents are gradually released on a continuous basis. You need to place a new ring monthly for constant birth control, removing it after 3 weeks, at which time you have your duration.

Side effects are minimal however may include vaginal discharge, vaginitis and irritation. Like contraceptive pills, Nuvaring might increase the threat of embolism, cardiac arrest and stroke. Females who utilize Nuvaring are strongly encouraged not to smoke, as it may increase the risk of heart-related negative effects.

Some females choose to take a progestin-only tablet. Called the “mini-pill,” progestin-only tablets permit ladies to avoid a few of the worst negative effects of estrogen, while enhancing routine menstrual cycles and avoiding pregnancy. If you are breast-feeding, you may wish to consider the mini-pill, because combination items might dry up your milk supply.

Progestin-based mini-pills are highly reliable for avoiding pregnancy (about 97 percent), however missing out on a pill or taking it at a various time of day is riskier than with combination estrogen-progestin pills. That’s since the mini-pill’s results can diminish after a day, making you susceptible to pregnancy. Ladies on mini-pills may also ovulate, even when they take the pills properly. And if you miss out on a day, the possible schedule of an egg makes getting pregnant more likely.

Longer-acting progestins may be a great birth control alternative if you desire dependable protection without needing to remember to take a tablet every day. Injected medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera) lasts three months. The Mirena IUD, which delivers progesterone straight and constantly into the uterine lining for up to 5 years, is an extra longer-term alternative. Both are extremely efficient. Talk about the dangers and benefits with your doctor before selecting the approach that’s finest for you.

Progestin-Only Contraceptive Products At-A-Glance

Levonorgestrel (tablets and implants); marketed as emergency situation contraception tablets (Fallback One-Step and Next Choice) and the Mirena levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system.

Ulipristal acetate; a progesterone agonist/antagonist that is marketed as the “ella” tablet.

Medroxyprogesterone (injected); marketed as Depo-Provera contraceptive injection.

Norethindrone (tablets); marketed as Ortho Micronor and Nor-Q-D.

Emergency situation contraception: Pills containing levonorgestrel (Plan B One-Step and Next Option) can be used for emergency contraception within 72 to 120 hours of unguarded sex. With Plan B One-Step, you take one pill within 72 hours after unguarded sex to help prevent pregnancy. It can be used up to 120 hours after sex however is less reliable the more time lapses. Next Choice works likewise but includes taking one pill within 72 hours of vulnerable sex and another 12 hours later. ella tablets cut the opportunities of becoming pregnant by about two-thirds for at least 120 hours after unguarded sex by postponing or hindering ovulation. You can purchase the levonorgestrel emergency situation contraceptive pills over-the-counter without a prescription. You should request for them at the drug store counter. ella is available just by prescription, however you might keep a supply in the house.

Ask your healthcare professional or pharmacist for more information about how and when to utilize these products, if you wish to keep them on hand. Combination contraceptive pill can also be utilized for emergency birth control if you currently have a prescription for them, however speak to your health care supplier about proper dose and timing for use as an emergency situation contraceptive.

Perimenopause and menopause: For perimenopausal females with irregular or missing periods, the low-dose estrogen/progestin combination discovered in oral contraceptives frequently reduces symptoms and helps keep regular menstrual cycles.

In addition, postmenopausal hormone treatment using either estrogen alone (ET) or an estrogen-progestin mix (HT) is often advised to deal with moderate to extreme perimenopausal or postmenopausal signs. Estrogen-only treatment is recommended only if you’ve had a hysterectomy. If you still have your uterus, you’ll need to take some progestin with the estrogen (unless you use the estrogen-SERM mix, Duavee) due to the fact that the progestin assists offset estrogen’s revitalizing impacts on the endometrium, which could increase your danger of endometrial cancer.

Some postmenopausal hormone treatment products offer the exact same dose of progestin in each daily dose (called constant therapy). Others are designed with progestin added throughout part of a regular monthly cycle and then stopped (called cyclic therapy). Females on the intermittent-progestin regimen report more bleeding issues than women on constant therapy routines.

Estrogen-progestin mixes may need cyclic therapy, throughout which you take different tablets on different days, resulting in regular monthly bleeding similar to menstruation, or constant treatment, throughout which you take estrogen and progestin together every day. Lots of women prefer the continuous combination treatment so they can prevent regular monthly bleeding. If bleeding continues more than three months, consult your healthcare specialist.

Progestin-Only Products at a Glance


Kinds of progestins offered include intramuscular, oral, and cream. They include:.

Hydroxyprogesterone (injected); marketed under the names Hylutin, Makena and Prodrox. It is recommended for abnormal uterine bleeding, amenorrhea and readying the uterus for menstruation.

Medroxyprogesterone (tablets and injection); marketed under the names Curretab, Depo-Provera (injection) and Provera. Tablets are prescribed for unusual uterine bleeding, amenorrhea, to get the uterus all set for menstruation and as part of menopausal hormone therapy with estrogen. Injections are recommended for kidney or uterine cancer.

Megestrol (liquid and tablets); marketed as Megace. Liquid is prescribed for hunger or weight-loss associated with AIDS. Tablets are prescribed for breast or uterine cancer or for cravings or weight reduction connected to cancer.

Norethisterone acetate (tablets); marketed as Nor– Q-D and Aygestin. It is prescribed for irregular uterine bleeding, amenorrhea or endometriosis.


Progesterone items consist of:.

Micronized oral progesterone (Prometrium). It is prescribed for menopausal symptoms, infertility, unusual uterine bleeding, endometriosis and amenorrhea (lack of a menstrual duration).

Progesterone vaginal gel (Crinone). It is used to treat infertility and amenorrhea.


Numerous conditions for which progestin or progestin-estrogen combinations are recommended can not be avoided. Menopause, for instance, is a regular phase of life. But while the modifications in hormonal agent levels can not be avoided, the extreme symptoms these changes may trigger can often be eased through medication and/or lifestyle changes.

As your body changes, it is really important to communicate honestly with both your partner and your healthcare professional. Tell both about your symptoms and the physical and emotional changes you might experience. Your health care expert will have the ability to help you discover how to better handle and deal with those signs, including how to maintain a healthy sex life. And your partner should know what’s taking place to you, specifically if the symptoms are causing distress and are affecting your sex life.

Facts To Know

  • Progestogen refers to any hormone replacement product that produces similar results on the uterus as progesterone, the naturally occurring form of the hormone produced in a woman’s body. Progestins are synthetic versions of progesterone.
  • Progesterone helps protect the lining of the uterus, also referred to as the endometrium.
  • Progestogens are consisted of in mix hormonal therapies with estrogen to prevent endometrial accumulation, which can lead to cancer.
  • After menopause, you will not produce any considerable progesterone.
  • Progesterone is believed to be instrumental for signs of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as breast inflammation, feeling puffed up and state of mind swings.
  • In addition to menopausal hormonal agent therapy and contraception, progestogens might be used to treat a variety of conditions, including menstrual abnormalities and endometriosis; breast, kidney or uterine cancer; and appetite and weight reduction in help clients. Progesterone, the natural hormone, may also be utilized to prevent pregnancy loss and preterm labor.
  • Progestin-only contraceptive items might be an excellent choice if you are unable to take a combination product with estrogen or are concerned about estrogen’s side effects. They are appropriate for older women, especially cigarette smokers who want to use an oral hormone contraceptive method, and postpartum and/or breast-feeding women.
  • Progestin-only mini-pills are extremely reliable for preventing pregnancy (about 97 percent) if taken correctly. They should be taken at the same time every day to be efficient.
  • Progestogens are in some cases utilized as a diagnostic aid to figure out whether estrogen is being produced. In a “progestin challenge” test, a female takes progestin pills for 5 or more days. When the progestin is stopped, bleeding occurs if enough estrogen exists.
  • Hormone-based treatments are not the only choice for contraception or for easing menopausal signs. Inquire about and go over all the options with your health care supplier. [3]

How is progesterone controlled?

The development of the corpus luteum (which produces the majority of progesterone) is set off by a rise in luteinising hormonal agent production by the anterior pituitary gland. This normally happens at roughly day 14 of the menstruation and it stimulates the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation) and the formation of the corpus luteum from the remnant of the hair follicle. The corpus luteum then secretes progesterone, which prepares the body for pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilised and no embryo is developed, the corpus luteum breaks down and the production of progesterone declines. As the lining of the womb is no longer maintained by progesterone from the corpus luteum, it breaks away and menstrual bleeding happens, marking the start of a new menstruation.

Nevertheless, if the ovulated egg is fertilised and triggers an embryo, the cells that surround this early embryo (which are predestined to form the placenta) will produce human chorionic gonadotrophin’ data-content=’ 1392′ >> human chorionic gonadotrophin. This hormone has an extremely similar chemical structure to luteinising hormonal agent. This suggests it can bind to and trigger the very same receptors as luteinising hormone, meaning that the corpus luteum does not break down and rather keeps producing progesterone up until the placenta is established. [4]

Progesterone in males

Progesterone is called a female hormonal agent, however males need progesterone to produce testosterone. The adrenal glands and testes in males produce progesterone.

Progesterone levels in males resemble those of females in the follicular phase of the menstruation, when the egg roots on an ovary is preparing to release an egg.

Signs of low progesterone in males include:.

  • Low progesterone levels in men can lead to loss of hair.
  • Low sex drive
  • Loss of hair
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness
  • Depression
  • Gynecomastia, which is breast development in males
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Impotence
  • Bone loss
  • Muscle loss

Men with low progesterone levels have a greater risk of developing:.

  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Prostate cancer
  • Prostatism, an obstruction of the bladder neck, typically associated with an enlarged prostate gland

As males age, testosterone begins to decrease, estrogen levels increase, and progesterone levels fall significantly. [5]

Negative effects

When taken by mouth: The progesterone prescription products that have been approved by the Fda (FDA) are LIKELY SAFE for many people when utilized by mouth with the suggestions and care of a health care specialist.

When applied to the skin: The progesterone prescription products that have actually been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are LIKELY SAFE for the majority of people when applied to the skin with the advice and care of a health care specialist.

When given as a shot: The progesterone prescription items that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are LIKELY SAFE for the majority of people when injected into the muscle with the recommendations and care of a healthcare expert.

When used into the vagina: The progesterone prescription products that have actually been authorized by the Fda (FDA) are LIKELY SAFE for most people when used into the vagina with the guidance and care of a health care professional.

However, progesterone can trigger lots of side effects consisting of indigestion, modifications in appetite, weight gain, fluid retention and swelling (edema), tiredness, acne, drowsiness or sleeping disorders, allergic skin rashes, hives, fever, headache, depression, breast pain or enhancement, premenstrual syndrome (PMS)- like symptoms, altered menstruations, irregular bleeding, and other side impacts. [6]

Should I be concerned about low progesterone?

Progesterone is necessary throughout childbearing years. If you don’t have sufficient progesterone, you might have problem getting or staying pregnant.

After one of your ovaries launches an egg, your progesterone levels must increase. Progesterone helps the uterus thicken in anticipation of getting a fertilized egg. If it’s not thick enough, the egg will not implant.

Signs of low progesterone in females who aren’t pregnant consist of:.

  • headaches or migraines
  • mood changes, consisting of anxiety or anxiety
  • irregularity in menstruation

Low progesterone may cause unusual uterine bleeding in women who aren’t pregnant. Irregular or missing periods may show inadequately functioning ovaries and low progesterone.

If you get pregnant, you still need progesterone to maintain your uterus up until your baby is born. Your body will produce this increase in progesterone, which causes a few of the symptoms of pregnancy, consisting of breast tenderness and nausea. If your progesterone levels are too low, your uterus may not be able to carry the infant to term.

During pregnancy, symptoms of low progesterone include spotting and miscarriage.

Low progesterone might indicate ectopic pregnancy. This can result in miscarriage or fetal death.

Without progesterone to complement it, estrogen may become the dominant hormone. This may cause symptoms consisting of:.

  • weight gain
  • reduced libido, mood swings, and anxiety
  • PMS, irregular menstrual cycle, heavy bleeding
  • breast tenderness, fibrocystic breasts
  • fibroids
  • gallbladder issues [7]

Drug Interactions

Although particular medications ought to not be utilized together at all, in other cases 2 different medicines might be utilized together even if an interaction may occur. In these cases, your medical professional might want to alter the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medication, it is especially essential that your health care expert know if you are taking any of the medications listed below. The following interactions have been picked on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-encompassing.

Utilizing this medicine with any of the following medications is normally not suggested, however may be needed in many cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your medical professional might alter the dose or how often you utilize one or both of the medicines.

  • Abametapir
  • Conivaptan
  • Eslicarbazepine Acetate
  • Fedratinib
  • Fexinidazole
  • Fosnetupitant
  • Netupitant [8]

This info ought to not be analyzed without the aid of a doctor. If you think you are experiencing an interaction, contact a doctor instantly. The absence of an interaction does not necessarily mean no interactions exist. [9]


Keep all visits with your physician.

Before having any laboratory test or biopsy (removal of tissue for testing), tell your doctor and the lab personnel that you are taking progesterone.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any concerns you have about refilling your prescription.

It is necessary for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You must bring this list with you each time you go to a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is likewise crucial details to bring with you in case of emergency situations. [10]


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