Progesterone

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progesterone test
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 Progesterone is a female hormone important for the regulation of ovulation and menstruation. It is also present in men in smaller concentrations. Progesterone is a steroid hormone that plays numerous roles within the human body. It is crucial to the production of sex hormones and corticosteroids, as well as playing a role as a neuro-steroid (brain function). 

Progesterone in Men and Women - Everything You Need to Know

Progesterone is an essential female sex hormone that can significantly influence your health and well-being. This hormone is present in men's and women's bodies, but men produce much less.

Testing your progesterone levels often is highly recommended. A progesterone test is inexpensive and could reveal why you're dealing with muscle loss or abdominal pain. You can just dive into this article and learn more about progesterone.

A progesterone test measures the level of progesterone, a hormone produced mainly in the ovaries, in the blood. Progesterone plays a crucial role in women's menstrual cycle and in maintaining the early stages of pregnancy. In men, a smaller amount of progesterone is involved in the production of sperm (1).

Progesterone is produced in high quantities in women to prepare for getting pregnant. If this doesn't happen, progesterone production decreases, and menstruation begins for women.

If the woman gets pregnant, this hormone is produced constantly throughout pregnancy to help develop the baby. Women have the most progesterone in their last semester of pregnancy.

For example, average progesterone production is between 10 and 45 ng/mL of blood in the first semester of pregnancy. The last one can reach up to 290 ng/mL as the woman prepares to give birth.

On the other hand, men produce up to 15 ng/mL of blood every day. As you can tell, men have much less progesterone in their bodies than women, which is normal. However, this hormone is still essential for men, as seen in the following paragraphs.

Progesterone levels can drop too low for various reasons. For example, chronic stress, especially in women, might affect progesterone production. Thyroid problems can also interfere with the release of this hormone since the thyroid gland controls most of the hormonal processes in the body.

Obesity in both men and women might lead to a decrease in progesterone. This condition is associated with many other problems, so losing weight as soon as possible naturally cures progesterone deficiency.

Role of Progesterone in the Body

Progesterone is essential for the regulation of the menstrual cycle. During the first half of the cycle, progesterone levels are usually low. After ovulation, if an egg is released, the ovarian tissue left behind (the corpus luteum) produces progesterone. This hormonal shift prepares the uterine lining for a potential pregnancy (2).

Reasons for a Progesterone Test

Infertility

One of the most common reasons to perform a progesterone test is to help diagnose problems with fertility. If a woman has difficulty getting pregnant, a progesterone test can help determine whether she's ovulating normally. Low progesterone levels may indicate that ovulation isn't occurring regularly - a common cause of infertility in women (3).

Pregnancy Issues

During early pregnancy, a progesterone test can help diagnose an ectopic or failing pregnancy. After a successful implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus, progesterone levels should remain high. If progesterone levels drop, it may indicate a problem with the pregnancy (4).

Irregular Menstrual Cycles

Irregular menstrual cycles can be associated with a variety of conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or ovarian cysts. Testing progesterone levels can help healthcare providers diagnose these conditions and recommend appropriate treatments (5).

Performing the Progesterone Test

Procedure

A progesterone test is a simple blood test. The healthcare provider will take a sample of blood from a vein in the patient's arm. The blood sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Timing

The timing of the test is critical because progesterone levels can change dramatically during the menstrual cycle. Typically, the test is performed about a week before a woman's period is due, or about day 21 in a 28-day cycle (6).

Interpreting Progesterone Test Results

Normal Results

Progesterone levels vary depending on the time of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy status, and individual factors. In general, normal progesterone levels midway through the menstrual cycle are between 5 and 20 ng/mL. During pregnancy, progesterone levels can rise into the hundreds (7).

Abnormal Results

Lower than normal progesterone levels can be caused by lack of ovulation, problems with the ovaries, or an ectopic pregnancy. Higher than normal progesterone levels can be caused by ovarian cancer, adrenal cancer, or overproduction of progesterone (8).

Symptoms of Low Progesterone in Men

Although men produce between 5 and 15 ng of progesterone per mL of blood daily, this hormone can sometimes get too low. Progesterone production decreases with age, but other factors, such as an unhealthy lifestyle, might affect it.

When this happens, specific symptoms will appear. For example, depression is one of the most common symptoms. The depressive episodes can be long and last for several days or weeks. At the same time, erectile dysfunction might also occur in specific individuals.

That's because progesterone helps with achieving an erection and the maturation of sperm. In some cases, muscle loss can also happen. Other common symptom is excessive fatigue and brain fog or the impossibility of concentrating on daily tasks.

Symptoms of Low Progesterone in Women

Women also develop symptoms if progesterone levels fall below a certain threshold. For example, anxiety and depression are common symptoms, mood changes, and memory problems.

At the same time, too little progesterone for women might make it difficult for them to sustain a pregnancy. Even if they get pregnant, insufficient progesterone might lead to a miscarriage. That's why it's essential to check your progesterone levels often if you're thinking about conceiving a baby.

Other symptoms of insufficient progesterone in women include sore breasts and abdominal pain. These symptoms can persist for weeks and disturb the quality of your life. Unexplained weight gain can also occur due to too little progesterone.

Considerations and Limitations of the Progesterone Test

Sensitivity and Specificity

The progesterone test is a valuable tool, but it is not perfect. It provides a snapshot of a woman's progesterone level at a single point in time, but levels can fluctuate throughout the day. Therefore, a single progesterone test may not always provide a full picture of a woman's reproductive health (9).

Follow-Up Tests

Depending on the results of the progesterone test, additional testing may be necessary. For example, if the test indicates that a woman isn't ovulating, her healthcare provider may order additional tests to determine the cause, such as tests for estrogen levels, thyroid function, or PCOS (10).

Treatment Options to Normalize Progesterone Levels

If a woman approaches menopause, it's normal to expect a significant drop in progesterone levels. However, this can be mitigated with hormone replacement therapy similar to testosterone replacement therapy men benefit from.

HRT consists of supplementing the body with additional progesterone in pills or creams. This can be done for a couple of years under a doctor's supervision. There are some risks, but they can be outweighed by the benefits of having more progesterone in the body.

If a man has low progesterone levels, there are options here too. For example, doctors might recommend switching to a healthier lifestyle. This involves doing physical exercise for at least 30 minutes a few times a week, getting rid of junk food, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol intake.

As a rule of thumb, hormones can be balanced with a healthy lifestyle, exercise, and a nutritious diet. The progesterone levels can be assessed every few weeks or months, and adjustments can be made to restore their normal levels.

Normalizing progesterone levels also have positive effects on an emotional level. It has been discovered that an increase in progesterone in men can reduce anxiety and depression in both the short termand long-term.

Conclusion

The progesterone test is a vital tool for diagnosing and managing many reproductive health issues. It can help healthcare providers diagnose infertility, irregular menstrual cycles, and pregnancy complications. However, like all tests, it has limitations and should be used in conjunction with a comprehensive evaluation and other diagnostic tests.

Progesterone is produced in high quantities in women to prepare for getting pregnant. If this doesn't happen, progesterone production decreases, and menstruation begins for women.

If the woman gets pregnant, this hormone is produced constantly throughout pregnancy to help develop the baby. Women have the most progesterone in their last semester of pregnancy.

For example, average progesterone production is between 10 and 45 ng/mL of blood in the first semester of pregnancy. The last one can reach up to 290 ng/mL as the woman prepares to give birth.

On the other hand, men produce up to 15 ng/mL of blood every day. As you can tell, men have much less progesterone in their bodies than women, which is normal. However, this hormone is still essential for men, as seen in the following paragraphs.

Progesterone levels can drop too low for various reasons. For example, chronic stress, especially in women, might affect progesterone production. Thyroid problems can also interfere with the release of this hormone since the thyroid gland controls most of the hormonal processes in the body.

Obesity in both men and women might lead to a decrease in progesterone. This condition is associated with many other problems, so losing weight as soon as possible naturally cures progesterone deficiency.

Check Your Progesterone Level Today!

Most men don't necessarily think about their progesterone levels too often, but this is an important hormone. It tends to drop with age, and it's recommended to check it often to prevent some of the symptoms mentioned above.

Get your progesterone blood test from Discountedlabs.com today and see how you stand! This reputable vendor sells some of the most affordable blood tests in the US, and you get the results back quickly.

 

References

  1. Simons, A., Shuster, J., Howard, F. M. (2012). Bone density and young athletic women. An update. Sports Health, 4(6), 461–466.
  2. Stachenfeld, N. S. (2008). Sex hormone effects on body fluid regulation. Exercise and sport sciences reviews, 36(3), 152–159.
  3. Filicori, M., Flamigni, C., Meriggiola, M. C., Ferrari, P., Michelacci, L., Campaniello, E., ... & Flamigni, C. (1994). Endocrine response determines the clinical outcome of pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone ovulation induction in different ovulatory disorders. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 78(3), 846–852.
  4. Stenchever, M. A., Droegemueller, W., Herbst, A. L., & Mishell Jr, D. R. (2001). Comprehensive gynecology. St. Louis: Mosby.
  5. Nestler, J. E. (1997). Role of hyperinsulinemia in the pathogenesis of the polycystic ovary syndrome, and its clinical implications. Seminars in reproductive endocrinology, 15(2).
  6. Vitzthum, V. J. (2009). The ecology and evolutionary endocrinology of reproduction in the human female. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 140(S49), 95–136.
  7. American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) (2020). Progesterone. Lab Tests Online.
  8. Stanczyk, F. Z. (2003). All progestins are not created equal. Steroids, 68(10-13), 879–890.
  9. Prior, J. C., Vigna, Y. M., Schulzer, M., Hall, J. E., & Bonen, A. (1990). Determination of luteal phase length by quantitative basal temperature methods: validation against the midcycle LH peak. Clinical & Investigative Medicine, 13(3), 123–131.
  10. Thessaloniki ESHRE/ASRM-Sponsored PCOS Consensus Workshop Group (2008). Consensus on infertility treatment related to polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertility and sterility, 89(3), 505–522.

 

 

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