Progesterone is a common hormone in those assigned female at birth that supports menstruation and aids in maintaining the beginning stages of pregnancy. They are chemical messengers that convey to your body how to work. It is also vital for their reproductive system. If the levels of progesterone are too low, there can be potential complications with pregnancy or could produce side effects comparable to menopause. Therefore, it is important to know and understand the function and benefits of progesterone in the body.
Purpose of Progesterone
The primary purpose of progesterone is to equip the lining of your uterus, also known as the endometrium, for the potential fertilized egg so it can implant on your uterine wall and begin developing. Without the fertilized egg, the endometrium will shed, and your menstrual period will begin. On the other hand, if the egg is fertilized, then the levels of progesterone in your body will increase to support the pregnancy.
During your menstrual cycle, your progesterone levels will fluctuate; usually, during ovulation, they will rise and continue to grow if pregnancy occurs. To determine if your levels are normal, you should visit your doctor so they can determine where your levels should be depending on whether you are menstruating or pregnant.
How Progesterone is Produced
There is a gland in your body that is called the corpus luteum
that produces progesterone. It is a temporary gland that will materialize after ovulation. It is also liable for maintaining progesterone levels after conception and fertilization to sustain a pregnancy. Progesterone is also produced through your adrenal glands as well as the placenta.
How Progesterone Works with Estrogen
Progesterone and estrogen work as a hormonal team in your body. Together they regulate specific body operations such as menstruation. If your progesterone levels are low or if you have estrogen dominance
, you will find that you may have a number of problems. This may include irregular periods, depression, mood changes, low libido, breast tenderness, or gallbladder issues.
Estrogen and progesterone also perform together in combination with hormone replacement therapy, which is used to treat the symptoms of menopause. They are also commonly put together in certain birth control pills to prevent pregnancy.
Progesterone During Pregnancy
Progesterone is vital during pregnancy because it thickens the uterine lining, which aids in ensuring your fertilized egg grows into an embryo and then into a fetus.
During the beginning stages of pregnancy, progesterone will continue to increase. This is due to the fact that high levels of progesterone keep your body from ovulating while you are pregnant. It is also helpful to repress uterine contractions, so you do not go into early-term labor. Progesterone also aids in preparing your body to breastfeed once your baby is born.
Due to the importance of progesterone during the early stages of pregnancy, if you have lower levels, you will most likely find it difficult to conceive, and your risk for a miscarriage rises.
Common Disorders Associated with Progesterone
When your progesterone levels are on the low side, it can affect your body in several ways. First, the symptoms could be noticeable if they are low. On the other hand, it is rare to have any negative impact on your health if your levels are high, although in rare cases, it could be a sign of adrenal or ovarian cancer.
Low progesterone levels have more pronounced symptoms and can cause difficulty conceiving, irregular menstrual periods, anxiety, depression, mood changes, hot flashes, and trouble sleeping. In the case of pregnancy, because progesterone supports your uterine lining to encourage the fetus to grow, low levels can make it difficult to maintain pregnancy. This is because the levels must stay high until birth. If they lower, there is a risk of ectopic pregnancy, preterm labor, and miscarriage.
Progesterone would play an important role in your body if you were assigned female at birth. It creates a healthy uterine lining to aid in the growth of fertilized eggs and keeps the levels high to support a healthy pregnancy. It also plays a vital role in your menstrual cycle. Understanding the role progesterone plays will aid in promoting a healthy body.