Blood levels of progesterone are used to confirm that the body is ovulating. The progesterone test at various intervals can help to determine the exact day of ovulation.
Progesterone (PGN) is produced by the corpus luteum in the ovaries (in the body of a non-pregnant woman), the placenta (during pregnancy) and the adrenal cortex (in the body of both men and women). Progesterone is metabolised in the liver. Progesterone, together with E2, controls the phases of the menstrual cycle.
Concentrations rise after ovulation (during the luteal phase) and fall four days before menstruation. The PGN test helps to detect ovulation and assess the function of the corpus luteum.
During pregnancy, progesterone is produced by the placenta.
PGN concentrations rise gradually throughout pregnancy and peak before birth. PGN stimulates the secretory activity of the uterine lining, which is necessary for egg implantation, and at the same time keeps the uterus in a state of rest by inhibiting the release of the hormone oxytocin. PGN stimulates the growth of mammary glands.
A PGN concentration of < 5 ng/mL has been found to be a reliable indicator of a non-viable pregnancy. When progesterone levels are between 5 and 25 ng/mL, follow-up and other diagnostic procedures are required.
The most information is obtained when the PGN test is performed on days 19-23 of the cycle.
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