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Progesterone

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • 17-Alpha-hydroxyprogesterone, 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17P), 17 alpha-OHP-C, allopregnanolone, bioidentical hormone therapy (BHT), Colirest™, Crinone®, cyclic medroxyprogesterone acetate, Cycrin®, danazol, depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), dienogest, Dioscorea mexicana, diosgenin, drospirenone, dydrogesterone, Esolut®, Hematrol™, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), hormone therapy, intramuscular progesterone, luteal phase support, medroxyprogesterone, medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), megestrol, micronized progesterone, micronized transvaginal progesterone, Nestorone®, nomegestrol acetate, norethisterone, oral micronized progesterone (MP), ORG-2154, P4, pregn-4-ene-3,20-dione, PremPro®, Pro-gest®, progestagen, progesterone receptor, progesterone vaginal cream, progesterone-only contraceptive pill (POCP), progestins, progestogen, Prontogest®, Provera®, steroid hormone, transdermal progesterone, transdermal progesterone cream, trimegestone, Utrogest®, Utrogestan®, vaginal progesterone, yams.
  • Note: This monograph focuses on progesterone and not other members of the progestogen family, such as synthetic progestogens or metabolites.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Progesterone (pregn-4-ene-3,20-dione), whose name is derived from progestational steroidal ketone, is a hydrophobic steroid hormone produced in the ovaries, placenta (during pregnancy), and adrenal glands, and it is involved in the female menstrual cycle, maintenance of pregnancy, and embryogenesis. Progesterone levels are relatively low during the preovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle, rise after ovulation, and are elevated during the luteal phase, which is the phase of the cycle that starts at ovulation and ends the day before menstruation. Progesterone testing is done to help find causes of infertility, determine ovulation, assess the risk of miscarriage, monitor the function of the ovaries and placenta during pregnancy, and help diagnose problems of the adrenal glands and some types of cancer. Progesterone was codiscovered and named by Willard Myron Allen and George Washington Corner at the University of Rochester Medical School in 1933 (1).
  • The synergistic effects of estrogen and progesterone have been demonstrated. Specifically, estrogen through estrogen receptors upregulated the expression of progesterone receptors, thereby increasing the influence of progesterone in the body (2). Estrogen and progesterone combinations are commonly used in hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women.
  • Progesterone and related synthetic molecules have demonstrated beneficial effects in women with menorrhagia (abnormally heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding), and for premature birth prevention. Progesterone is also often used as a conception aid as a means of luteal support, in which progesterone is used to induce the secretory transformation of the endometrium so that implantation can occur and a pregnancy may be supported during the early stages of development through preparation of the corpus luteum.
  • Progesterone has been examined for its effects in a variety of conditions, including breast pain, cognitive performance, endometriosis, menopausal symptoms, pre-eclampsia, and premenstrual syndrome; however, strong evidence is currently lacking.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.