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A progesterone test measures the amount of the hormone progesterone in a blood sample. Progesterone is a female hormone produced by the ovaries during release of a mature egg from an ovary (ovulation). Progesterone helps prepare the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to receive the egg if it becomes fertilized by a sperm. If the egg is not fertilized, progesterone levels drop and menstrual bleeding begins.
During pregnancy, the placenta also produces high levels of progesterone, starting near the end of the first trimester and continuing until the baby is born. Levels of progesterone in a pregnant woman are about 10 times higher than they are in a woman who is not pregnant.
Some types of cancer cause abnormal progesterone levels in men and women.
A progesterone test is done to:
You may be asked to stop taking medicines (including birth control pills) that contain estrogen or progesterone, or both, for up to 4 weeks before having a progesterone test.
Tell your doctor if you have had a test that used a radioactive substance (tracer) within the last 7 days. Recent tests such as a thyroid scan or bone scan that used a radioactive tracer can interfere with the test results.
Let your doctor know the first day of your last menstrual period. If your bleeding pattern is light or begins with spotting, the first day is the day of heaviest bleeding.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form .
The health professional drawing blood will:
For a woman who is having problems with her menstrual cycle or who cannot become pregnant, more than one blood sample for progesterone testing may be needed to help identify the problem. A sample may be taken each day for several days in a row.
You may feel nothing at all from the needle puncture, or you may feel a brief sting or pinch as the needle goes through the skin. Some people feel a stinging pain while the needle is in the vein. But many people do not feel any pain or have only minor discomfort once the needle is positioned in the vein.
There is very little risk of complications from having blood drawn from a vein.
A progesterone test measures the amount of the hormone progesterone in a blood sample.
Results are usually available within 24 hours.
The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.
Less than 1 nanogram per millilitre (ng/mL) or 0.5–2.3 nanomoles per litre (nmol/L)
2–25 ng/mL or 6.4–79.5 nmol/L
10–44 ng/mL or 32.6–140 nmol/L
19.5–82.5 ng/mL or 62–262 nmol/L
65–290 ng/mL or 206.7–728 nmol/L
Less than 1 ng/mL or less than 3.2 nmol/L
Less than 1.0 ng/mL or less than 2 nmol/L
Many conditions can change progesterone levels. Your doctor will discuss any significant abnormal results with you in relation to your symptoms and past health.
High progesterone values may be caused by:
Low progesterone values may be caused by:
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
CitationsFischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2013). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 6th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
Current as of: February 11, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Sarah Marshall MD - Family MedicineAnne C. Poinier MD - Internal MedicineE. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineFemi Olatunbosun MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of: February 11, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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