Progesterone is a hormone of pregnancy, so the rate of progesterone in women is one of the main indicators that the fertility function of a woman is not impaired.
The role of progesterone in the body of a woman
Progesterone begins to be actively secreted by the yellow body even before the very moment of conception and its production from the moment of ovulation in case of fertilization lasts until the 16th week of pregnancy. In the event that fertilization did not occur, the corpus luteum dies, the production of progesterone stops and menstruation begins.
The value of progesterone for conceiving a child is difficult to overestimate, since it has a significant impact on the female body, preparing it for reproduction. It is this one that makes it possible for the fertilized egg to fix to the uterine wall, reducing the activity of contractions of the uterus muscles. Without progesterone, the woman’s body simply discards the fertilized egg. Progesterone excludes the possibility of spontaneous abortion. In addition, it contributes to the fact that the mammary glands are rebuilt to produce milk after childbirth.
Its level in the first phase of the cycle rises, reaching its peak by the time of ovulation. If a pregnancy occurs after ovulation, the level of its concentration in the blood will continue to grow, creating conditions for the ovum to develop and contributing to the preservation of pregnancy. And if, after ovulation, pregnancy does not occur, the level of progesterone begins to decrease to its value, which was in the first, “pre-ovulatory” phase of the menstrual cycle, followed by menstruation.
The second phase, the phase after ovulation, the menstrual cycle should continue for at least 10 days. During this phase, progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum, which prepares the endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) for pregnancy. Therefore, with a reduction in the duration of the second phase (this condition is called a luteal phase insufficiency), the endometrium cannot adequately prepare for implantation of the ovum and, as a result, pregnancy cannot occur.
In addition, if progesterone is deficient in the early stages of pregnancy, it can occur spontaneously (miscarriage), since low progesterone levels cannot support the endometrium necessary for implantation and further development of the ovum.
Summarizing the above, we can conclude that progesterone in the reproductive function of women is one of the key factors. In particular, he:
- contributes to the creation in the uterus environment favorable for conception;
- contributes to the normal implantation of the ovum;
- increases the survival of the ovum;
- strengthens and stores in the uterus secretory endometrium that supports the embryo during pregnancy.
For the reason that it is progesterone that prevents the rejection of the endometrium with the ovum implanted in it, a low content of progesterone can lead to miscarriages in the first weeks of pregnancy.
In addition to its function to ensure the success of conception and support pregnancy, progesterone also performs a number of other functions. In particular, he:
- prevents the formation of fibrous cysts in the glandular tissue;
- promotes the transformation of adipose tissue into the necessary energy;
- helps to normalize the level of blood viscosity and blood sugar concentration.
In addition, numerous medical studies have shown a link between premenstrual and menopausal syndromes, not only with fluctuations in the level of estrogen in the body, but also with a deficit in the concentration of progesterone.
Therefore, the normal level of progesterone in the female body is important throughout the life of a woman, and not only during periods when she is pregnant.
The rate of progesterone in the blood of women
Fluctuations in the level of progesterone in the female body are associated with various factors, among which the main factors are pregnancy, the onset of menopause, and hormonal contraceptives. However, even taking into account these factors, progesterone fluctuations in an adult who is not pregnant and who does not take oral contraceptives should not go beyond the following indicators, depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle, the norm:
- In follicular: from 0.32 to 2.25 nmol / l
- In the ovulation phase: from 0.49 to 9.41 nmol / l
- In luteal: from 6.95 to 56.63 nmol / l
- Postmenopausal: not higher than 0.64 nmol / l
During pregnancy, the following values are normal depending on the trimester:
- First trimester: from 8.90 to 468.5 nmol / l
- Second trimester: from 71.50 to 303.2 nmol / l
- Third trimester: from 88.70 to 771.50 nmol / l
For women taking oral contraceptives, normal rates:
- In the follicular phase: up to 3.6 nmol / l
- In ovulatory: from 1.52 to 5.45 nmol / l
- In luteal: from 3.01 to 66.8 nmol / l
- Postmenopausal: not higher than 3.19 nmol / l
When and how to test for progesterone? Test results
If there are no special medical instructions, this study is carried out on the 22nd or 23rd day of the menstrual cycle strictly on an empty stomach. Blood is taken for analysis in the morning, between the last ingestion of food and blood collection should take at least 8 hours.
If a progesterone test is performed during pregnancy or for special purposes, it includes information on the week of pregnancy, the bottom of the menstrual cycle, on the use of contraceptives and other drugs that affect hormone levels.
Elevated levels may indicate the presence of:
- uterine bleeding;
- abnormalities in the development of the placenta,
- formation of cysts of the yellow body.
Also accompanied by increased levels of progesterone pathology of the kidneys and adrenal glands.
Progesterone deficiency suggests:
- lack of ovulation;
- dysfunction of the corpus luteum;
- chronic inflammation of the ovaries;
- violation of the menstrual cycle.
In pregnant women, a decrease in the level can be an indicator of intrauterine growth retardation of the embryo, the threat of miscarriage, prolonged pregnancy.
Low hormone levels can also be an indicator of uterine bleeding or the result of taking certain medications.