Progesterone is one of the most important sex hormones in the female body that stimulates and regulates important functions. This hormone is involved in maintaining a healthy pregnancy, preparing the body for pregnancy, and regulating the menstrual cycle. Understanding the role of progesterone in the body and how it works is crucial. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about this hormone.
What is progesterone?
Progesterone is a hormone produced by a specific part of a woman’s ovaries called the corpus luteum. The follicle that releases the egg during ovulation develops the corpus luteum. After ovulation, the corpus luteum increases its progesterone production.
Progesterone is the predominant hormone in the second half or luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and its role is to continue the work of estrogen in preparing the lining of the uterus for pregnancy. If the sperm fertilizes the released egg and you become pregnant, the corpus luteum will continue to produce this hormone until about 10 weeks of pregnancy. It then takes control of your pair.
If you do not become pregnant, your corpus luteum will dissolve, your progesterone levels will drop, you will have a period, and a new menstrual cycle will begin. In addition to the corpus luteum and placenta, the ovaries and adrenal glands also produce less of this hormone.
Progesterone and Progestin: Are the two different?
Progesterone is a natural hormone produced by your body, primarily the corpus luteum. This hormone is quickly eliminated from the body if taken orally. This makes it difficult to use this hormone as a supplement; Especially if it is only needed in lower doses. To improve absorption by the body, this hormone is usually given as a progesterone injection or progesterone suppository.
There is a synthetic form of progesterone to overcome the absorption problem. This is what is known as progestin. By manipulating the chemical structure of natural progesterone, various synthetic progestins have been created that affect the body’s progesterone receptors. Progestins are used in all hormone-containing contraceptives, including:
- Implantable contraceptive capsule;
- Oral contraceptive pills;
- Injectable contraceptive;
- IUD containing progestin.
Most of these are progestins They are synthetically derived from testosterone and, depending on the type of progestin, may have more or less the same activity as testosterone; For example, third-generation progestins have less androgenic or testosterone function than first-generation progestins.
Progesterone in pregnancy
Progesterone is essential for a healthy pregnancy. As explained above, the role of progesterone in pregnancy begins even before the fertilized egg is implanted. The presence of this hormone is very important for having a healthy pregnancy and maintaining it; So much so that your placenta will produce it from about the 10th week of pregnancy until the end of the pregnancy. This hormone is thought to have anti-inflammatory activity and affect your immune system. These functions of progesterone help prevent miscarriage during pregnancy and prevent subsequent pregnancy loss and preterm delivery.
In some women, taking progesterone supplements may be necessary during pregnancy. If you became pregnant through assisted reproductive technology (ART), you probably will not ovulate naturally; So you do not have a healthy corpus luteum to produce this hormone. In these cases, your doctor may prescribe some types of progesterone in the form of gels, vaginal tablets, or ampoules. Taking this supplement usually lasts until about 10 to 12 weeks of pregnancy.
If you have a history of preterm labor or a premature rupture of the bladder in your previous pregnancy, your doctor may use an injection of this hormone to prevent premature labor. These weekly injections of a specific type of progesterone usually start at 16 weeks and continue until 36 weeks of pregnancy.
Possible uses of progesterone
Oral contraceptives usually contain estrogen and progesterone. These combination pills suppress ovulation (egg release) every month. The progesterone in these pills reduces the chance of pregnancy by altering the cervical mucosa, making it difficult for sperm to move and attach to the egg. The progesterone in birth control pills also prevents the growth of the endometrium and alters uterine secretions to reduce the chance of fertilizing an fertilized egg in the uterine wall.
2. Prevent premature birth
Most research shows that using progesterone gel or injecting it into the vagina, alone or in combination with other therapies to delay childbirth, reduces the risk of preterm birth in some women at risk. However, some other research suggests that the use of progesterone gel in the vagina does not reduce the risk of preterm birth in women with a history of preterm labor. The effect of this hormone on preterm delivery in women with twin pregnancies is unknown.
3. Relieve the symptoms of menopause
As you grow older and reach menopause, your hormone levels fluctuate, causing ovulation and menstruation to become irregular, as well as other annoying symptoms. Some research shows that using a special progesterone cream (Progest) on the skin reduces symptoms such as hot flashes in postmenopausal women.
4. Treatment of amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)
Taking this hormone, either orally or as a vaginal suppository, may be effective in treating amenorrhea in premenopausal women.
5. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Food and Drug AdministrationFDAHas confirmed the use of micronized progesterone (prometerium) with estrogen as part of hormone replacement therapy.
6. Infertility treatment (inability to conceive during 1 year of trying to conceive)
Progesterone vaginal gel is FDA approved for use as part of infertility treatment in women. Some research shows that the use of vaginal gel and progesterone injections can have a positive effect on increasing the chances of fertility.
7. Treatment of abnormal thickening of the lining of the uterus (endometrial hyperplasia)
Some research shows that using Crinone vaginal gel in the vagina prevents endometrial hyperplasia in women undergoing estrogen replacement therapy. Other preliminary research suggests that 1 intravaginal progesterone cream may relieve abnormal endometrial thickening and vaginal bleeding in premenopausal women.
8. Reduce breast pain (mastalgia)
Some research shows that the use of progesterone (crinone) in the vagina reduces sensitivity and chest pain in women with non-cancerous breast diseases.
9. Endometrial protection (innermost layer of the uterus)
In the normal cycle of ovulation in which you do not conceive, the accumulation and shedding of the uterine mucosa is controlled by the balance between estrogen and progesterone. If you have a condition where you do not ovulate but you have excess estrogen, which occurs in polycystic ovary syndrome and sometimes in obesity, your doctor may prescribe this hormone to protect the lining of the uterus and treat any abnormal uterine bleeding.
It is also commonly used in many hormone replacement options to manage menopausal symptoms. Most of the unpleasant symptoms of menopause are caused by estrogen deficiency. Taking hormone replacement therapy alone can treat these symptoms and protect your bones.
Side effects of progesterone
This hormone can have many side effects, including the following:
- Menstrual cycle change;
- Severe bleeding;
- Symptoms similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS);
- stomach discomfort;
- Change in appetite;
- Weight Gain;
- Fluid retention and swelling (edema);
- Drowsiness or insomnia;
- Skin rash;
- Breast discomfort or enlargement.
Hypersensitivity to progesterone and mood disorders in the luteal phase
Progesterone, like estrogen, interacts with chemicals in your brain and controls your mood. This is done through a compound known as Allopregnanolone. Allopregnanolone works on a specific receptor in your brain called the GABA receptor. This compound usually has an anxiolytic and sedative function. Because of this, you may feel drowsy or lack energy just before menstruation or early in pregnancy.
But for some women, an increase in progesterone in the luteal phase can cause varying degrees of anxiety and restlessness. This adverse reaction is thought to be due to a disorder in the way alloprennanolone is processed by these women.
Precautions and warnings
- pregnancy period: It is probably safe to use intravaginal progesterone gel as part of infertility treatment or to prevent premature birth. However, it is probably not safe when this hormone is used for other purposes during pregnancy.
- Breastfeeding period: There is not enough information to ensure the safe use of this hormone during breastfeeding. Be careful and avoid using it while breastfeeding.
- Arterial disease: Do not use this hormone if you have arterial disease.
- Breast Cancer: If you have breast cancer, avoid taking progesterone. Unless your doctor tells you to.
- Depression: If you are currently severely depressed or have a history of major depression, consult your doctor before using this hormone.
- Liver disease: Progesterone may make liver disease worse. Do not use it.
- Porphyry disease: This hormone may cause a porphyria attack, do not use it.
- Vaginal bleeding: If you have undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, avoid taking this hormone.
How much did you know about the effects of this hormone? Have you had any production problems? Tell us and your audience about your experience.