Have you ever wondered why you need progesterone? What does it do for your health and emotions? Here we discuss some frequently asked questions about this subject to give you the answers you need.
What is progesterone?
Progesterone is a steroid hormone, which the ovaries product during ovulation. The corpus luteum and the placenta secrete it. Progesterone, in conjunction with estrogen, regulates the menses and pregnancy.
Why is it important?
Fluctuating levels of progesterone affect women of all ages; just ask anyone who has ever experienced menstrual or menopause disorders. Progesterone is a key hormone that affects women’s health and offers many benefits such as:
- Balancing estrogen or inhibiting levels
- Preventing premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Reducing hot flashes and other discomforts of menopause
- Preparing the uterus for fertilized eggs
- Maintaining pregnancy
- Preventing premature labor or miscarriages
- Treating uterine bleeding
- Stabilizing moods and emotions
How does the doctor know that my progesterone levels are out of balance?
There is a simple and relatively painless blood test to measure progesterone levels. Your doctor may recommend this test, or a saliva test, if he suspects a hormonal imbalance. He or she may also recommend checking the progesterone levels of women with repeated miscarriages, as low progesterone levels may be the root cause.
Low levels of progesterone can cause premature uterine contractions or otherwise compromise a pregnancy. Mood swings and hot flashes can be exacerbated by low progesterone.
What type of progesterone supplementations are available?
Progesterone supplementation is available in capsule, cream, suppository, gel, and injectable forms. Oral progesterone is marketed under the brand name Prometrium. There is a wide variety of progesterone creams available; you may want to try one from this list of natural progesterone creams if your doctor approves. Progesterone suppositories and suspension gels are typically used to treat infertility. Injectable progesterone is used by doctors to treat many conditions caused by progesterone imbalances and is usually administered by a health care professional.
What happens if I forget to it?
If you forget to take a dose, take the missed dose immediately, unless it is almost time for the next dose. If it is time for your next dose, take it, and skip the missed dose, because doubling up on the medication could be dangerous.
What is the connection between progesterone and osteoporosis?
Progesterone encourages bone growth and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Now that you know the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about progesterone, you are better informed. However, this information is just for educational purposes and is not intended to diagnosis or suggest treatment options. Consult your healthcare professional for advice if you are concerned about whether or not your progesterone levels are adequate.
Dr. Bonnie Travis, FAQs About Progesterone, accessed 01/04/2011
University of Michigan Health System, Progesterone, Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS, 06/06/2007, accessed 01/04/2010
University of California, San Diego, Drug Guide, Progesterone, accessed 01/04/2011
March of Dimes, Quick Reference Fact Sheet: Miscarriage, 2010, accessed 01/04/2011