What is Progesterone?

Progesterone is a hormone produced primarily by the ovaries in females, with smaller amounts produced by the adrenal glands. Serving a critical role in the menstrual cycle, progesterone fluctuates, peaking during the luteal phase (after ovulation) and declining before menstruation. Normal levels are necessary for regular menstrual cycles, fertility, embryo implantation, and pregnancy maintenance. In addition to its role in reproductive health, this hormone also influences mood, sleep, and overall well-being.

Understanding Your Progesterone Test Results

Progesterone levels in females are typically measured in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood. Normal progesterone levels vary depending on the menstrual cycle phase, pregnancy status, and individual health factors.

The American Board of Internal Medicine defines normal progesterone levels as:

  • Female (follicular phase): 0.02 - 0.9 ng/mL
  • Female (luteal phase): 2 - 30 ng/mL
  • Male (adult): 0.12 - 0.3 ng/mL

Interpreting Progesterone Results:

  • Higher than normal progesterone levels may occur during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle or during pregnancy. Elevated levels do not typically negatively impact health. In non-pregnant individuals, elevated progesterone levels may indicate conditions such as ovarian cysts, adrenal disorders, or certain medications. Further evaluation by a healthcare provider is necessary to determine the underlying cause.
  • Lower than normal progesterone levels may occur during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle or in conditions such as anovulation (absence of ovulation), luteal phase defect, or certain hormonal disorders. Additional testing and medical evaluation are essential to identify the underlying cause and determine appropriate management.

Improving Progesterone Levels and Overall Health:

Maintaining optimal progesterone levels is crucial for promoting reproductive health and overall well-being in females. Strategies for supporting healthy progesterone levels and overall health include:

  • Studies on diet have shown that both macronutrient and mineral intake may affect progesterone levels. Cleveland Clinic suggests that foods rich in zinc, vitamin C, vitamin B, and magnesium may help support healthy progesterone levels.
  • Managing stress using techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and adequate sleep can help balance progesterone levels.
  • Higher intake of synthetic folate was significantly associated with higher luteal progesterone levels, according to a 2012 study.
  • If experiencing irregular menstrual cycles, fertility concerns, or symptoms of hormonal imbalance, it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider for a thorough evaluation and appropriate management.

Where Can I Learn More?

Cleveland Clinic - Progesterone

Osmosis from Elsevier (video) - Estrogen & Progesterone