Progesterone is a female sex hormone, produced mainly in the ovaries after ovulation occurs. This is an important hormone in maintaining the menstrual cycle and especially in preparing a woman for pregnancy. Let’s find out what does progesterone do for women in this article!
Since puberty begins, the ovaries release one egg each month. If fertilization does not occur, the corpus luteum – an endocrine gland responsible for the production of hormones, including progesterone – is disrupted, leading to decreased progesterone levels, to a certain extent that there is no longer enough to maintain the lining of the uterus causing them to break and form menstruation.
If fertilization occurs, progesterone will continue to thicken the lining of the uterus, stimulating the glands to secrete nutrients to feed the egg and maintain the pregnancy.
The role of the hormone progesterone in the body
Progesterone in a woman’s body has the following tasks:
Regulate the menstrual cycle
Prepare the lining of the uterus for implantation
Maintain uterine lining throughout pregnancy
Prevent ovulation from continuing until the pregnancy ends
Prevents fertilization of more than 1 egg at a time
Prevent uterine contractions, help pregnant mother’s cervix always close
Stimulates breast tissue to promote lactation, getting ready for milk production
Strengthen the contractions of the pelvic muscles to prepare for labor
In men, progesterone is produced in small amounts that help with sperm production
What is the normal level of progesterone?
Progesterone levels are relatively low before ovulation and usually rise after this process. Progesterone will continue to increase if fertilization occurs or decrease if menstruation occurs.
If your progesterone levels don’t rise or fall every month, it means you’re having problems with ovulation, your period, or both. They can lead to the unfortunate consequence of female infertility.
Women who have had multiple pregnancies or have twins, triplets, etc. often have naturally higher levels of progesterone than women who have never had children.
Why do progesterone levels drop?
Progesterone levels in the blood can drop for the following reasons:
- Toxemia of pregnancy, preeclampsia, or late pregnancy
- Decreased ovarian function
- Ectopic pregnancy
Why do progesterone levels increase?
Causes of abnormally elevated progesterone can include:
- Endometrial cancer
- Unsuccessful pregnancy
- A form of ovarian cancer
- Progesterone is overproduced by the adrenal glands
- Adrenal cancer
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH)
Progesterone hormone deficiency
Symptoms of low progesterone
- Headache or migraine
- Changes in mood, including anxiety or depression
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Decreased sex drive
- Abnormal uterine bleeding in non-pregnant women
Is low progesterone dangerous?
Progesterone hormone is very important for women during childbirth. Low progesterone levels mean you’ll have some trouble getting pregnant. Specifically:
When ovulation occurs, progesterone levels increase, which helps thicken the uterine wall, ready for an egg to implant. Without progesterone, the lining is not thick enough, the egg will not be able to implant and pregnancy will not occur.
Pregnant women still need progesterone to maintain the lining of the uterus until the baby is born. The body will continue to produce this hormone and cause normal pregnancy symptoms such as chest pain and nausea. If progesterone levels are too low, the uterus may not be able to sustain the growth of the fetus.
Progesterone deficiency can potentially lead to an ectopic pregnancy, leading to miscarriage or stillbirth;
Without progesterone to supplement, estrogen can become the dominant hormone, causing symptoms such as:
- Weight gain
- Decreased sex drive
- Premenstrual syndrome, irregular menstrual cycle, heavy menstrual bleeding
- Cystic fibrosis of the breast
- Gallbladder problem
What to do when you have low progesterone?
Women with low progesterone usually have no symptoms and may not need treatment. However, if you want to have children, you should seek hormone replacement therapy. This therapy helps to increase progesterone levels and thicken the lining of the uterus, increasing the chances of pregnancy and leading to a healthy pregnancy.
Women with menstrual irregularities and abnormal vaginal bleeding can also improve these symptoms by using hormone replacement therapy. For the treatment of severe symptoms of menopause, this therapy usually combines both estrogen and progesterone, because taking estrogen without progesterone increases the risk of endometrial cancer.
Methods of adding progesterone in hormone therapy include:
- Creams and gels: For topical or vaginal use
- Suppositories: Often used to treat low progesterone-causing fertility problems
Hormone therapy is contraindicated in women with a history of:
- Breast cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Liver failure
- Blood clot
Using hormone replacement therapy can cause some side effects such as heart attack, stroke, blood clot formation, gallbladder problems, and some types of breast cancer. Therefore, patients should consult their doctor before using this therapy.
If you are concerned about the side effects of hormone therapy, you can look to natural methods of increasing progesterone such as:
- Increase foods rich in vitamins B and C
- Eat foods rich in zinc, eg shellfish such as shrimp, clam
- Manage stress: When under stress, the body produces cortisol instead of progesterone
Progesterone plays an important role in the health of both men and women, especially greatly affecting the fertility of women. When you notice any signs of low progesterone in the body, especially if you are trying to have a baby, you should see your doctor soon to determine your condition and take a timely intervention.
Top News hopes this article can help you learn more about what does progesterone do for women and wishes you all the best!
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