Progesterone Tests

By SheCares Editorial Team | Updated: Aug 28, 2019

Progesterone chemical structure

Progesterone hormones are steroidal hormones that are closely associated with pregnancy and the menstrual cycle. It is typically produced in the ovaries and in the adrenal glands; however, during pregnancy, it is also produced in the placenta. Progesterone is transported through fat cells and can affect many other systems in the body. For example, low progesterone levels can cause gingivitis, osteoporosis, and breast pain.

In the following sections, one can learn how to identify progesterone fluctuations and discover more about the different types of progesterone tests available.

Understanding Progesterone Tests

Progesterone tests can diagnose fertility problems and help predict ovulation.

Progesterone tests measure the amount of progesterone present in blood or saliva. It is vitally important that progesterone levels be measured; both high and low progesterone levels can cause many different side effects.

A progesterone test can help women diagnose low fertility levels, assess the risk of miscarriage, and determine when ovulation is most likely to occur.

Progesterone levels in pregnant women are ten times higher than women who are not pregnant. Thus, progesterone tests can be immensely helpful and informative.

Progesterone Tests

There are two types of progesterone tests. They are both common and simple to perform. Another benefit of the two is that the results are usually ready in less than 24 hours.

Blood tests are used to measure progesterone.
  • Blood test.  Women who choose to have a blood test must abstain from oral contraceptives for 24 hours prior to the test and must be past ovulation for the current menstrual cycle.
  • Saliva test. Alternatively, progesterone levels can be measured with a saliva sample. Roughly 3-5% of progesterone can be found in saliva and represents the progesterone not currently in use by the body.  The saliva test is useful for calculating the amount of progesterone produced by the ovaries, or to compare test results for two or more women.

Women who have recently received a thyroid or bone scan should avoid progesterone tests, as these conditions can influence the results.

The results of a progesterone test will vary depending on the menstrual phase, pregnancy, or menopausal stage. They can also be affected by numerous factors, including:

  • Drugs. Ampicillin and clomiphene can influence a woman's progesterone levels.
  • Time of day. Progesterone levels fluctuate throughout the day.
  • Frequency of exercises. Excessive, strenuous exercise (usually seen on professional athletes) may lower progesterone levels.

Advanced Progesterone Tests

Severe problems related to fertility and the menstrual cycles are evaluated with either  blood or saliva tests repeated over a period of several days. This creates a clearer picture of how progesterone levels are fluctuating within the body over time.

Click on the following link regarding progesterone levels to gain a better understanding of what different progesterone levels can indicate.

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