What is the progesterone hormone?

What is the progesterone hormone?

Most internal organs need to communicate with other organs to function and regulate. This communication is provided by hormones. There are more than 50 hormones in the human body, and they all have different functions. One of these hormones, progesterone, is a steroid sex hormone and is produced using cholesterol in the blood. Although it is known as a female hormone, it has been proven to be synthesized in very small amounts in men.

What is the progesterone hormone?

Progesterone hormoneRoughly, it is a hormone that prepares women for pregnancy and is secreted by the ovaries in cycles every month in a healthy, reproductive woman. Progesterone is produced when an egg is released in the middle of the menstrual cycle, ie during the ovulation period. Progesterone begins to thicken the endometrium (uterine wall) to allow a fertilized egg (embryo) to attach or attach to the uterine wall. In other words, it prepares the uterine wall like a bed for the development of the embryo. However, if the egg is not fertilized within the appropriate time, the body reduces progesterone secretion and the uterine wall is destroyed and excreted, that is, menstruation (menstruation) occurs. If an embryo attaches to the uterine lining, it is transmitted to the ovary through hormones, and as a result, the ovary produces progesterone for eight weeks.

Studies have shown that the progesterone hormone is synthesized not only in the ovaries and placenta, but also in the adrenal cortex in the central nervous system (CNS) and adrenal glands. However, the fact that both men and women synthesize this hormone indicates that the functions of this hormone are not limited to the women’s reproductive system alone. For example, with current studies, progesterone hormone neuroprotection in the central nervous system (protection of nerve cells), neuromodulation (modification of nerve cells), myelination (covering some of the nerve cells with a myelin sheath that provides rapid transmission), neurogenesis (nerve cell development from precursor cells) , It has also been proven to regulate neuroplasticity (brain cells develop new connections) and various non-reproductive functions related to mood. Therefore, considering the synthesis, metabolism of progesterone and its effects on the central nervous system, this hormone is also appropriate to be called a neurosteroid. 

Progesterone must be at a certain level for a healthy pregnancy to occur. Especially, determination of progesterone values ​​is very important in the diagnosis or treatment of infertility. For this reason, sometimes doctors may order a progesterone test from expectant mothers. This test is taken from the blood and should fall within the following values ​​in a healthy woman:

  • 1 ng / mL or less in women after menopause and at the beginning of the menstrual cycle.
  • Between 5 and 20 ng / mL in women in the middle of the menstrual cycle,
  • 11.2 – 90 ng / mL in women in the first trimester of pregnancy (trimester),
  • 25.6 – 89.4 ng / mL in women in the second trimester of pregnancy,
  • In women in the third trimester of pregnancy, it should be between 48.4 – 42.5 ng / mL.

What are the symptoms of progesterone elevation?

The progesterone hormone begins to rise rapidly in the first trimester of pregnancy. Until the body adapts to this change, some complaints may be observed in expectant mothers. In addition, similar effects can be observed in problems with the adrenal gland such as progesterone, congenital hyperplasia, when a decrease in estrogen level is observed in the body, or when using too much oral and transdermal progesterone drugs. If progesterone is too high due to a supplement, its level will decrease spontaneously after a while.

Symptoms of mild progesterone elevation can be listed as follows:

  • Lethargy feeling,
  • Waking up weak
  • Breast tenderness,
  • Nausea ,
  • Fluctuation in weight gain (usually between 3-5 kg),
  • Mild depression ,
  • Mild dizziness
  • bloating ,
  • Discomfort or pain in the legs
  • Body water retention,
  • Feeling anxious or nervous,
  • Libido changes (usually reduced sex drive).

What are the side effects of progesterone hormone?

Except for the reasons mentioned above (pregnancy, adrenal hyperplasia, etc.), progesterone does not increase spontaneously. However, drugs containing progesterone hormone are prescribed for progesterone deficiency, infertility or IVF treatments. Apart from this, progesterone hormone supplementation may be required in pregnant women with high risk or previous miscarriage, women with irregular menstrual bleeding and patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. These drugs can be prescribed orally, by injection, or as a transvaginal suppository (inserted into the vagina). The use of drugs containing progesterone hormone is risky for people with some specific health problems. 

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding that the doctor has not controlled
  • Breast cancer risk or history,
  • Liver disease
  • The use of progesterone hormone can be dangerous in patients who have had a stroke , heart attack or blood clotting problems in the past years . These patients should definitely inform their physicians before using the progesterone hormone. 

Progesterone hormone has the side effects listed below. These side effects are mild and temporary. If the symptoms are very serious and do not go away, you should consult your doctor:

  • Headache ,
  • Breast tenderness or pain,
  • Stomach pain ,
  • Vomiting,
  • diarrhea ,
  • constipation ,
  • Tiredness,
  • Muscle, joint or bone pain
  • Mood changes (such as irritability or excessive anxiety),
  • Runny nose , sneezing and coughing ,
  • Vaginal discharge ,
  • Urinary tract problems such as trouble urinating. 

Apart from this, more serious side effects of progesterone hormone can be observed, although very rare. When you observe any of these symptoms, you should immediately apply to the health facility:

  • Lump formation in the breast,
  • Severe migraine, headache and dizziness,
  • Slow or difficult speech,
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms and legs 
  • Lack of coordination or loss of balance,
  • Shortness of breath,
  • Rapid pulse or sharp chest pain ,
  • Coughing up blood
  • Leg swelling or pain
  • Vision loss, blurred or double vision,
  • Puffy eyes 
  • Unexpected vaginal bleeding,
  • Uncontrollable hand tremors, 
  • Seizure (epilepsy crisis) , 
  • Stomach pain or swelling,
  • depression ,
  • Hives , skin rash, itching,
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing,
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs,
  • Hoarseness .

What is low progesterone hormone?

Since the progesterone hormone is one of the main hormones for pregnancy, pregnancy probably will not occur in the low progesterone hormone. Although fertilization occurs in a healthy way in a woman’s body, when the progesterone hormone is insufficient, the uterine wall does not become thick enough. Therefore, it is not possible for the fertilized egg to attach to the uterine wall and the pregnancy cannot be maintained in a healthy way. Low progesterone hormone may cause miscarriage and bleeding in pregnant women.

Symptoms of low progesterone hormone in women who are not pregnant can be listed as follows:

  • Menstrual cycle irregularity,
  • Headaches or migraines ,
  • Various mood changes (such as anxiety or depression),
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding (with irregular menstrual cycle, in some cases very little, in some cases severe bleeding may be observed).

Since progesterone and estrogen are hormones that work against each other, estrogen may become dominant in cases where progesterone is low in the female body. In this case, some symptoms observed in menopause may occur. The most important of these symptoms are;

  • Weight gain
  • Fibrocystic breasts and breast tenderness,
  • Decreased libido (sex drive),
  • Fibroids ,
  • It can be listed as gall bladder problems.