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Progesterone Testing | Test Your Progesterone Levels

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Progesterone Test | Test Your Progesterone Levels

Progesterone Blood Testing and the Menstrual Cycle

General Guidelines

Progesterone is a steroid hormone produced by both males and females and necessary for sexual health and reproduction. Although it is often referred to as a “female hormone” because of its predominant role in ovulation and pregnancy, men require it too, (albeit in smaller amounts).

In women, progesterone is produced mainly in the ovaries, and the placenta (if pregnant). Small amounts are also produced in the adrenal glands. In men, progesterone is produced in the adrenal glands and in the testes. Progesterone blood testing, also referred to as “progesterone, serum” testing, measures the level of progesterone in a sample of blood to help monitor hormone levels for pregnancy, or to diagnose a medical condition or concern. This blood test is crucial for assessing the role of progesterone in preparing the uterus for pregnancy, supporting pregnancy, and diagnosing infertility or adrenal gland problems. Certain medications such as, oral contraceptives, or progesterone, ampicillin and clomiphene may affect test results. Radioactive tracer used in thyroid and bone scan tests within 7 days of blood draw may also skew results. Some progesterone testing must be done on specific days within a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Why Progesterone Test Is Used


A progesterone test may be used to detect or monitor a number of medical conditions including:

  • Fertility
  • Progesterone treatment during pregnancy
  • High-risk pregnancy (High progesterone levels)
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Molar pregnancies
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Adrenal cancer
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) (Low progesterone levels)
  • Toxemia (in later stages of pregnancy)
  • Decrease in ovarian function
  • Absence of menstruation (amenorrhea)
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Miscarriage
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding (non-pregnant women)

The corpus luteum, which forms in an ovary after the ovary releases an egg, plays a crucial role in progesterone production to support pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, the corpus luteum breaks down, leading to a drop in progesterone levels, which prepares the lining of your uterus for the next menstrual period by causing it to shed if fertilization does not happen.


Progesterone testing may be used to detect low levels of the hormone in males who may experience:

  • Decreased libido
  • Loss of hair
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Gynecomastia (male breasts)
  • Erectile dysfunction

Low levels of progesterone are associated with a higher risk of arthritis, osteoporosis, prostatism (difficulties with urination as a result of obstruction), and prostate cancer.

How does it work?

A progesterone test, or progesterone, serum test measures progesterone levels in the blood. In men, progesterone is a necessary precursor to testosterone and “preserver of masculinity.” Produced mainly in the testes, progesterone levels decline with age, along with testosterone. In addition to progesterone testing, men may have estrogen, cortisol, DHEA and thyroid hormone tests performed as well. In reproduction, progesterone signals the female uterus to prepare for implantation of a fertilized egg. As the fetus grows, the placenta also provides high levels of the hormone to support the pregnancy.

During pregnancy progesterone prevents the production of milk. The sharp decline at labor then triggers the body to start producing. Progesterone levels rise and fall with a woman’s menstrual cycle so timing is very important for monitoring some medical conditions or situations. Progesterone levels fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle, with a significant drop if fertilization does not occur, leading to menstrual bleeding. An FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), estrogen or thyroid test may be performed along with the progesterone, serum test for women.

About Progesterone Test Results

Results for progesterone testing are reported in nanograms per milliliter and may vary by laboratory. Interpreting progesterone test results is crucial for understanding a woman's menstrual cycle, pregnancy status, and potential fertility issues. Progesterone levels fluctuate based on the menstrual cycle phase, pregnancy, or menopause, providing insights into ovulation, the health of the pregnancy, and the risk of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

Normal ranges are as follows:

  • Women before ovulation, postmenopausal women, and men: less than 1 ng/mL
  • Women mid-cycle: 5 to 20 ng/mL
  • Pregnant Women 1st trimester: 11.2 to 90 ng/mL 2nd trimester: 25.6 to 89.4 ng/mL 3rd trimester: 48.4 to 42.5 ng/mL

Ranges above or below normal could indicate one of the medical conditions listed above.


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