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You are here: Home > Fertility & Trying to Conceive > Fertility Concerns

Progesterone: Can It Help You Conceive?

by Katlyn Joy | January 25, 2012 1:31 PM
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Progesterone is an important hormone in a woman's life cycle. It is progesterone that is key in preparing the uterine lining for a fertilized egg. This hormone essentially prepares the nest for the growing baby, but if fertilization doesn't occur, a woman's progesterone levels drop and the lining is shed as part of the monthly cycle.

Progesterone also helps thin and ready the cervical mucus for sperm, making it a hospital place for conception to take place.

A woman who has frequent early miscarriages can suspect low progesterone levels as the reason. Without sufficient progesterone levels, the ideal environment for implantation and the growing embryo cannot be achieved.

While progesterone cream has become identified as an important means for protecting later pregnancies by preventing too short cervix issues, the standard use of progesterone cream to actually aid in getting pregnant is not.

Significant studies or research have not yet been done or established enough to cause doctors to routinely administer progesterone to women with fertility issues. However some women are treated with progesterone cream to help their odds of getting pregnant before trying more extreme interventions or higher risk procedures.

Progesterone creams are typically applied topically where they easily the fatty layer of skin and become absorbed into the bloodstream. Some common sites to apply the cream include the neck, abdomen, arms, legs especially the thigh, chest, hands or feet. Many suggest trying different sites to make sure the area does not become irritated.

Most doctors will require a woman to chart her ovulation symptoms such as her daily basal temperature, her cervical mucus or to use a home ovulation prediction kit to determine whether or not it appears she is ovulating normally and regularly.

Progesterone cream may be administered under a doctor's care through the first trimester of pregnancy to ensure a healthy pregnancy is past the threat of miscarriage due to lowered progesterone levels.

Assisted reproductive technology, or ART, requires the use of progesterone treatment to strengthen the odds of a successful pregnancy. Often however this is given via injections at the doctor's office rather than a self-administered topical cream.

If you suspect low progesterone is a factor in either your infertility or in causing frequent pregnancy loss in the early weeks of pregnancy, talk to your health care provider about your suspicions and discuss whether progesterone may be the culprit. Ask about the possibility of trying the rather inexpensive and low tech option of progesterone cream rather than going onto fertility drugs right away.

While progesterone is relatively safe and benign in its uses, you should undertake progesterone treatment only under the advice and care of a medical doctor or health care provider. As with any medical treatment, especially hormonal, there are risks and other implications. Hormones are responsible for many actions and reactions in the human body so while progesterone is available over the counter, you may not realize how it may affect you especially if you have any conditions, diseases or take other medications that may interact with progesterone treatment.

High progesterone levels are actually believed to be the issue when women experience PMS or premenstrual syndrome. Symptoms like breast tenderness, mood swings and bloating are blamed on the hormone levels rising too high.

During pregnancy progesterone levels should remain high, and will continue to stay elevated as it will play a part in the growth of milk-producing glands of the breasts. While levels are elevated, a woman's menstrual periods are delayed.

Synthetic versions of the hormone, called progestins, are used in birth control medications. Progesterone cream is generally derived from natural plant sources such as wild yams.


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