What is a serum progesterone test?
Progesterone is a hormone that your body produces. Both men and women produce it. But it’s mainly produced in the ovaries, which means women tend to have more of it.
Also known as Serum Progesterone Blood, Serum Progesterone, Progesterone, Serum Progesterone Test
In men, progesterone is involved in the creation of sperm, or spermatogenesis. In women, it helps prepare your uterus for a fertilized egg. If you become pregnant, progesterone helps you remain pregnant.
Progesterone also inhibits your milk production during pregnancy. When you go into labor, your progesterone levels drop, which helps trigger your milk production.
To measure the level of progesterone in your blood, your doctor can refer a serum progesterone test or progesterone test. The doctor may also refer it if you’re having trouble getting pregnant. The results can give them an indication of whether or not you’re ovulating. In turn, this can help them diagnose and manage potential fertility problems.
Your doctor might also refer to this test if you’re pregnant and they suspect you’re at risk of ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. Ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg attaches itself to your fallopian tube, abdominal cavity, or cervix, rather than your uterus. Miscarriage happens when you lose a fetus during early pregnancy. Both cause low progesterone levels.
Why does the progesterone test?
A progesterone test is used to:
- Find the cause of a woman’s infertility (the inability to make a baby)
- Find out if and when you are ovulating
- Find out your risk of a miscarriage
- Monitor a high-risk pregnancy
- Diagnose an ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy that grows in the wrong place (outside the uterus). A developing baby can’t survive an ectopic pregnancy. This condition is dangerous, and sometimes life-threatening, for a woman.
Progesterone Test Preparation
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Progesterone. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Progesterone.
No specific preparation is required for this test. Your doctor may tell you to stop taking certain medications such as birth control or other hormone pills before the test.
Progesterone test result
Your serum progesterone level will be measured in nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). Normal results can vary, depending on your gender, age, menstrual cycle, and whether or not you’re pregnant.
If you’re a woman who menstruates, your blood progesterone level should be low at the beginning of each menstrual cycle. It should peak several days after you ovulate. Then it should fall back to low levels unless you’ve become pregnant.
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Normal progesterone values
In general, normal serum progesterone test results fall in the following ranges:
- men, postmenopausal women, and women at the beginning of their menstrual cycle: 1 ng/mL or under
- women in the middle of their menstrual cycle: 5 to 20 ng/mL
- pregnant women in their first trimester: 11.2 to 90 ng/mL
- pregnant women in their second trimester: 25.6 to 89.4 ng/mL
- pregnant women in their third trimester: 48.4 to 42.5 ng/mL
Your test results are considered abnormal if they fall outside the normal ranges. In some cases, a single abnormal test result reflects normal fluctuations in your progesterone levels. Your progesterone levels can fluctuate a lot, even over the course of a single day. In other cases, abnormally high or low progesterone levels may be a sign of an underlying health problem.
In addition to pregnancy, high progesterone levels can be caused by:
- ovarian cancer
- adrenal cancer
- congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a group of disorders that affect your adrenal gland
- Low progesterone levels can be caused by:
- lack of periods
- failure to ovulate
- ectopic pregnancy
- fetal death
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