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What does progesterone do for women?

Written by:, PhD, Founder and Inventor of the Proov test — the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm successful ovulation at home.

Here at Proov, we love progesterone. So much so that we created the first FDA-cleared at-home test for PdG, a progesterone metabolite that’s found in urine.

Why are we such big fans, and why is progesterone such an important hormone for women? Read on, and we’ll tell you all about it!

why does progesterone do for women

Keep reading to learn why progesterone is such an important hormone for women!

What is progesterone, and where does it come from? 

Progesterone is one of the four key reproductive hormones for women. The first half of the cycle, the follicular phase, is dominated by the activity of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), estrogen, and luteinizing hormone (LH), but in the second half – the luteal phase – progesterone is in charge.

Progesterone begins to rise right after ovulation, remains elevated through days 7-10 after ovulation, and then drops again, causing the uterine lining to shed and your period to begin. Following the LH surge and ovulation, progesterone is made by the corpus luteum (what the “leftover” follicle turns into after releasing an egg). 

Progesterone isn’t just a reproductive hormone – it plays an important role in neural function, helps regulate other hormones, impacts mental health, and maintains bone density.  

Benefits of progesterone

Good progesterone levels are important for more than just reproductive health, and progesterone works throughout the body! While progesterone has a tremendous number of physical benefits, here are just a few.

Physical benefits

 

  • Better sleep: Progesterone has a mild sedative effect, promoting good sleep especially during the luteal phase. 
  • Healthy skin: One study showed that perimenopausal and menopausal women using a progesterone cream had fewer wrinkles and firmer skin. Hormone imbalance can also cause dull skin, dryness, breakouts, and blemishes. (Proov Balancing Oil is a great way to add progesterone to your skincare routine!)
  • Bone density maintenance: Progesterone increases formation of new bone cells, and low progesterone levels can lead to a failure to reach peak bone density in women. 
  • Nervous system health: Progesterone promotes repair and formation of the myelin sheath, or the insulating layer surrounding your neurons. Healthy myelin sheaths help transmit nerve signals. 
  • Immune function: Progesterone thickens cervical mucus, forming an immune barrier during the luteal phase that keeps out unwanted microbes and even secretes immune cells. 

Mental and emotional benefits

 

  • PMS: Progesterone levels that are either too high or too low can worsen symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, affecting mood and emotion processing. 
  • Anxiety: Studies have shown that progesterone has an anti-anxiety effect, and is involved in neurotransmitter function.
  • Libido: Low progesterone can be responsible for decreased libido.  

Progesterone and pregnancy 

Of course, sufficient progesterone levels are key to getting and staying pregnant! Progesterone from the corpus luteum maintains the uterine lining during the implantation window, allowing a fertilized egg to implant and begin developing as an embryo. If progesterone levels are too low, the uterine lining won’t hold during the entire implantation window. 

If a pregnancy occurs, the corpus luteum will continue to produce progesterone until the placenta eventually takes over, and progesterone levels will stay high throughout the duration of the pregnancy to prevent contractions! Finally, progesterone will drop as estrogen and oxytocin take over to stimulate labor. 

what does progesterone do for women

How to support your progesterone levels

Now that we’ve hopefully convinced you that progesterone is important to both reproductive and overall health, you might be wondering how you can best support your progesterone production and reap the benefits of healthy progesterone levels. A few suggestions to get started: 

 

  • Confirm successful ovulation by testing PdG, a progesterone metabolite that correlates to serum progesterone levels from the previous day. Proov has created the first FDA-cleared at-home test for PdG, and it’s easy to test on your own and understand your hormonal balance with Proov Confirm or Proov Complete

what does progesterone do for women

  • Evaluate your supplement routine to make sure you’re supporting healthy progesterone levels. An easy way to do this is with Proov Luteal Love, an herbal blend that supports progesterone production in the second half of the cycle!
  • Try seed cycling, a way of promoting hormone balance by eating specific kinds of seeds during different parts of the menstrual cycle. 
  • If you experience severe mood shifts, decreased libido, spotting before your period, or other symptoms of low progesterone, consult your medical provider.

Healthy hormones are key to getting pregnant, regulating mood and mental health, and staying healthy overall, and progesterone is no different! That’s why we love it here at Proov, and we hope you will too!

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