Progesterone (test): what is it, what is the indication and preparation?


What is a progesterone test?

The progesterone test is carried out to investigate the levels of progesterone in the blood and whether they are suitable for pregnancy. Although it is most requested for women, this test is used to diagnose certain diseases in men, such as gynecomastia .

There are no contraindications for the test and it can be performed before or during pregnancy. In addition to being indicated for pregnant women, it can also be indicated for women who want to get pregnant, women who have had spontaneous abortions or who ended up giving birth to stillbirths.

The exam can be performed in the public health system (SUS) or in private offices with an average value of around R $ 27.00 to R $ 80.00.

It is important to note that the progesterone test does not detect pregnancy, for this, only pharmacy or blood tests can help. However, the progesterone test helps to diagnose a possible ectopic pregnancy or even to monitor a risky pregnancy.

What is Progesterone?

Progesterone is a hormone that the body produces. Men and women are able to produce progesterone, however this hormone is produced mainly in the ovaries, which means that women tend to have it in greater amounts in the blood.

In men, progesterone is involved in the creation of sperm or spermatogenesis. In women, it helps to prepare the uterus for a fertilized egg and, if you become pregnant, it also helps to maintain the pregnancy, as it helps in the uterine lining. When there is no fertilization of the woman’s egg, the progesterone level drops and menstruation occurs.

During pregnancy, from the end of the third month of pregnancy , the woman starts to produce a large amount of progesterone, which lasts until delivery. However, when she goes into labor, progesterone drops and helps trigger milk production for the baby’s breastfeeding.

Index – in this article you will find the following information:

  1. What is Progesterone Examination?
  2. What is Progesterone?
  3. What is it for?
  4. Preparation
  5. How is the progesterone test done?
  6. Testing risks
  7. Exam Result
  8. What can affect the test result?
  9. Examination frequency
  10. Benefits on woman’s body

What is the progesterone test for?

The test is done to investigate the progesterone levels in the woman and check if they are adequate for a pregnancy to occur.

It is mainly indicated for women who want to get pregnant, for those who have had spontaneous abortions, bleeding or have given birth to stillbirths. The test can be performed before or during pregnancy and there are no contraindications.

In addition, the exam can also be indicated for:

  • Monitoring of a risky pregnancy;
  • Abnormal bleeding in women who are not pregnant;
  • Diagnosis of spontaneous abortion or ectopic pregnancy;
  • Check if ovulation is normal;
  • Help diagnose problems with adrenal glands and some cancers.

How is the preparation of the progesterone test?

It is necessary to fast for three hours before the exam. So, choose a time when you can do it without major inconvenience.

It is important to note that the use of certain medications that contain estrogen or progesterone (birth control pills, for example) can interfere with the test result. Therefore, write down all the medications you take, so that, at the time of the consultation, your doctor is able to make the necessary adjustments. It may be necessary to take a break with the medication for up to four weeks.

Tell your doctor, too, if you have had an x-ray examination in the last seven days, as this may interfere with the test results.

The exam is usually performed between the 20th and the 24th day of the menstrual cycle. Therefore, tell your doctor the first day of your last menstrual period.

How is the progesterone test performed?

If you have ever had a blood test, in which it was necessary to draw some blood with the aid of a needle, there is no reason to worry, as the test is done in the same way by a nurse, and it only takes a few minutes to be accomplished.

Ideally, after the test, you should eat lightly, to avoid any discomfort due to fasting.

After taking the result, you must take it to the doctor who requested it.

Testing risks

Every time you have a blood test, you may be at moderate risk. You will probably feel a little pain with the needle stick in the vein, and there may be bleeding for a few minutes after the needle is removed. A bruise can also develop in the area around the puncture site.

Although the most serious complications are rare, fainting, inflammation of the vein and inflammation at the puncture site can occur. If you are taking medications with warfarin sodium or even aspirin , bleeding is likely to take longer to stop, as these drugs thin the blood and can cause major complications such as bleeding and clotting.

If these complications occur, seek medical attention immediately.

Exam results

Exam results are usually available within 24 hours. In general, the normal results of the serum progesterone test are as follows:

  • During menopause: up to 90 ng / dL;
  • During the luteal phase (last phase of the menstrual cycle): 400 to 2000 ng / dL;
  • During the follicular phase (initial phase of the menstrual cycle): up to 105 ng / dL;
  • Pregnant women in the first trimester: 11.2 to 90 ng / mL;
  • Pregnant women in the second trimester: 25.6 to 89.4 ng / mL;
  • Pregnant women in the third trimester: 48.4 to 42.5 ng / mL.

In males, the level of progesterone considered normal is 20 to 90 ng / dL. In children who are not yet in the puberty phase, the values ​​considered normal are up to 40ng / dL.

Abnormal results

Your progesterone levels can vary widely, even over the course of a single day. In other cases, abnormal progesterone levels can be a sign of a hidden health problem.

High values

In addition to pregnancy, elevated progesterone can have other causes, which may be:

  • Ovarian cancer;
  • Adrenal cancer;
  • Overproduction of hormones caused by the adrenal glands;
  • Ovarian cysts.

Low values

The cause of low progesterone values ​​may be linked to:

  • Infertility;
  • Irregular menstrual cycle;
  • Depression;
  • Ectopic pregnancy;
  • Reduction of ovarian function;
  • Interruption of menstruation (menopause);
  • Spontaneous abortion;
  • Low immune system.

It is important to emphasize that every exam done must be evaluated by a doctor specialized in the subject. In that case, your gynecologist can help you.

What can affect the test

There are a few reasons why you may be prevented from taking the test or the result may not be useful. These situations are:

  • The use of hormones that contain estrogen or progesterone;
  • Use of medications containing ampicillin or clomiphene ;
  • The time of day that you are going to take the test can also impact, because, during the day, you suffer changes in the level of progesterone;
  • If you have had an exam that requires a radioactive substance (such as an x-ray) in the last week;
  • Stage of your menstrual period;
  • Stress due to busy life.

Examination frequency

Although it is not necessary to have a progesterone test often, its frequency will depend on your doctor’s instructions. He will ask you to take the exam every time you want to check for the presence or absence of possible problems that can be diagnosed or even accompanied by the exam.

However, it is recommended that women, even if they do not have symptoms of infertility or premature menopause , perform the exam once a year, so that it is possible to diagnose any problem early.

Benefits of progesterone in a woman’s body

Because it is a hormone responsible for much of female physiology, it is important to understand what its benefits are on a woman’s body.


Progesterone stimulates the action of osteoblasts, which are the cells responsible for the formation of bones. Thus, with the stimulation of cells, progesterone helps prevent osteoporosis .

Premenstrual tension

Due to the large change in hormone levels around the time of a woman’s menstruation, the administration of progesterone balances the predominance of the hormone estrogen and helps prevent the most common symptoms of PMS.

Baby blues

Several women suffer from postpartum depression , where there is a momentary extinction of the production of progesterone, the hormone responsible for maintaining pregnancy. This ends up causing changes in behavior that are similar to PMS.

In such cases, a progesterone-based therapy can help.


Progesterone activates the expression of the P-53 gene, which is responsible for the death of programmed cells, preventing excessive and uncontrolled cell proliferation. This ends up helping progesterone to be effective against cancer .

Other benefits

Other benefits of progesterone are:

  • Helps to reduce the bad effects of menopause;
  • Helps to eliminate headaches and irritation;
  • Decreases insomnia;
  • Increases libido and mental concentration;
  • Helps relieve menstrual cramps;
  • Improves the appearance of skin and hair.

This article is intended to help you understand the progesterone test and the benefits of this hormone in your body! Share with your friends so they understand too!