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A progesterone test measures the amount of the hormone progesterone in a blood sample. Progesterone is a hormone produced by the ovaries during release of a mature egg from an ovary (ovulation). Progesterone helps prepare the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to receive the egg if it becomes fertilized by a sperm. If the egg is not fertilized, progesterone levels drop and menstrual bleeding begins.
Some types of cancer cause abnormal progesterone levels.
Why It Is Done
A progesterone test is done to:
- Help find the cause of infertility.
- Monitor the success of medicines for infertility or the effect of treatment with progesterone.
- Help determine whether ovulation is occurring.
- Monitor the function of the ovaries and placenta during pregnancy.
- Help diagnose problems with the adrenal glands and some types of cancer.
How To Prepare
You may be asked to stop taking medicines (including birth control pills) that contain estrogen or progesterone, or both, for up to 4 weeks before having a progesterone test.
How It Is Done
A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm. Sometimes more than one blood sample may be needed. A sample may be taken each day for several days in a row.
How It Feels
When a blood sample is taken, you may feel nothing at all from the needle. Or you might feel a quick sting or pinch.
There is very little chance of having a problem from this test. When a blood sample is taken, a small bruise may form at the site.
Each lab has a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should show the range that your lab uses for each test. The normal range is just a guide. Your doctor will also look at your results based on your age, health, and other factors. A value that isn't in the normal range may still be normal for you.
Many conditions can change progesterone levels. Your doctor will discuss any significant abnormal results with you in relation to your symptoms and past health.
High progesterone values may be caused by:
- Cancer of the ovaries or adrenal glands.
- A molar pregnancy.
- Overproduction of hormones by the adrenal glands.
Low progesterone values may be caused by problems with ovulation, the menstrual cycle, or pregnancy.
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