Female Fertility Tests – Progesterone Test
A progesterone test is a preliminary female fertility test that can help to diagnose fertility problems, specifically with regard to abnormal progesterone levels in a woman’s bloodstream. As such, this infertility test can help to identify factors contributing to female infertility so that proper treatment may be prescribed.
What is Progesterone?
Progesterone is a female hormone that the ovaries produce when a mature egg is released from the ovary (ovulation). In addition, progesterone also assists in the preparation of the endometrium (uterine lining) in the case of fertilisation; when fertilisation does not occur, progesterone levels drop, resulting in menstruation.
During pregnancy, levels of progesterone are 10 times higher than when a woman is not pregnant.
Why is a Progesterone Blood Test Performed?
A progesterone test is helpful in establishing factors contributing to female fertility problems, including the following conditions:
- miscarriage risk
- ovulation irregularities
- placental problems
- adrenal gland abnormalities
Preparing for a Progesterone Test
Your health care provider (HCP) might ask to you to stop taking any medications that might affect the results of your progesterone test up to 4 weeks prior to this test, including medications such as estrogen and/or progesterone. Such medications may also include birth control pills, cimetidine and clomiphene.
In addition, you should also inform your health care provider regarding whether you have undergone any procedures using a radioactive tracer within the last 7 days (for example, a thyroid scan or bone scan), as well as whether you are taking any blood thinning medications.
You must also inform your doctor about when the first day of your last menstrual cycle occurred.
Other factors that can affect progesterone blood test levels include exercise, the point of time during the menstrual cycle when it is conducted, time of day and when you last ate something.
Progesterone Test Procedure
A progesterone test is conducted using a blood test; the sample is then analyzed for progesterone levels, with results generally being available within 24 hours of the test.
In some cases, a sample might be taken daily for several days in a row in order to receive accurate results regarding the cause of female infertility.
Regular levels of progesterone during the menstrual cycle are as follows:
- day 1 to 14: less than 1 nanogram per millilitre ng/mL
- day 15 to 28: 3 to 25 ng/mL
High progesterone levels can indicate one of the following problems:
- overproduction of adrenal gland hormones
- ovarian and adrenal gland cancer
- molar pregnancy