The ALMIGHTY Progesterone

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Progesterone. One seemingly harmless word that determines the fate of almost all women!

Before I started my TTC journey, I had heard about this wonderful hormone, but paid it as much mind as I would testosterone, or any other hormones I felt did not impact my life. The day before my traditional marriage, when an old friend lamented about being diagnosed with hormonal issues, I know she mentioned progesterone, as well as a slew of other things that flew right over my head. At that time, I didn’t think I would ever have to think about it too much.

My rapid weight gain, hair loss, and, of course, delayed conception were the giveaway to me that something was not quite right in the hormone department. After several sessions with Dr. Google, it became clear to me that I was, indeed, deficient of this wonderful hormone. I also found out that this deficiency usually walks hand in hand with estrogen dominance, neither of which situation are good for a woman TTC. Basically, progesterone is the body’s natural complement to estrogen, but when the latter is over dominant, the former is repressed. My theory was later confirmed by my Doctor. Well, that was just swell wasn’t it!!!! It definitely answered a lot of questions for me.

It definitely explained the uterine fibroids I had had the year before, a condition progesterone is supposed to protect one against. My research also revealed that this super hero hormone protects against many types of cancers (breast, uterine, ovarian), and the vast majority of PCOS symptoms (such as facial hair, alopecia, insomnia, vaginal dryness, PMS, etc.). Generally, women with PCOS have low progesterone levels. At the time of ovulation, progesterone is created by the ovaries. A woman can have her period and still not ovulate. This was the case with me, as my periods were like clockwork, but ovulation was zero. If a woman does not ovulate, the progesterone required to remove stored uterine lining. It is this stored lining that eventually leads to uterine fibroids and cysts, endometriosis, fibrocystic breast disease, weight gain, hair loss, depression, etc.

For those who are able to produce enough progesterone to ensure ovulation, and subsequently are able to conceive, it is of extreme importance to ensure your progesterone level is high enough, as it is required for the successful sustenance of a pregnancy. A lot of my friends and TFC members will attest that the first thing I nag about, when they tell me they are pregnant, is to discuss progesterone with their doctors. Progesterone helps prepare the uterus for, and maintain, a fertilised egg. It also helps nurture the foetus, and maintain a supportive environment for the developing baby. By weeks 8 to 10 weeks of pregnancy, the placenta takes over from the ovaries, is able to produce enough progesterone for the baby. But for women who have PCOS, and/or had their ovulation induced by such drugs as clomid, going on progesterone support once pregnancy is confirmed is crucial!

For people like me who got pregnant via IVF, going on progesterone support is critical as some of the medication used during such assisted reproductive methods can suppress your body’€™s ability to produce progesterone, in addition to possible underlying production issues. In such cases, well at least in mind, I was placed on progesterone suppositories from the day before my embryo transfer. I had the choice of going through the “front door” (vagina) or “back door” (anus), and I used whichever mode I was more comfortable with at the time. With my 1st IVF cycle, and even one of my clomid cycles prior, I was placed on progesterone injections in addition. The story about those injections is one for another day. Anyone who has had a progesterone shot will attest that it is one of the more painful shots you will ever care to have! It is oil based, so you can imagine the pain. But it’s a pain that most women will gladly bear every day they have to take those shots, if it can guarantee them of their babies.

Even though I was told I didn’t have to continue with progesterone support after I hit the 12-week mark, I sure as heck wasn’t going to take any chances, and took it right up till I hit 30 weeks, and had run out of the stash I had taken along with me when I travelled to have my twins. Call it paranoid or whatever, but I would rather be safe than sorry…and I still advice people to stay on the progesterone support for as long as they can.

The morale of the story is that you need to have an idea of your hormone situation…always. Don’t wait to be surprised, especially if you are trying for a baby, or are in the early stages of a pregnancy. Know your status, and act accordingly.

Good luck…and baby dust to all!

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12 COMMENTS

  1. I have been reading about progesterone online but this is the first article to address it fully.

    Is it best addressed on conception or before? Eg with an impending clomid cycle, should it be taken alongside or post conception. Also, if a test shows sufficient progesterone in the body, does one still need to take the shots because of factors like clomid and fibroid diagnosis?

    sorry if I’m going very medical with you, will also talk with my doc once I get the opportunity 🙂

    • Hi dear, if one’s progesterone levels are good enough, there is usually no reason to be on the injections or suppositories, since the body’s supplies should be able to sustain it.

      If it has been established to be low, and if one is also on clomid, progesterone is introduced post ovulation / conception, as that is when the body will need it the most, to support the fertilised egg.

      I hope this answers your question hun :good:

  2. i was placed on clomid and immediately after ovulation i was placed on duphaston a drug dat induce prtogesterone and to d glory of God i took in. My gynea has insisted i continue with d duphaston till am 3 to 4 months gone. Initially i was reluctant to continue but having read alot about how d drug prevent miscarriage and reading dis now has made me understand better. Thanks Nicole for this . God bless you. You are doing a great job

    i tried to register on d website but a link was sent to me for verification which didnt go through . dont know why. Pls help look into it. Thanks

    • Thanks for this, Tbabs! I appreciate it :hugs:. God bless you and your baby. Please don’t discontinue the progesterone. In fact, use it for as long as you can.

      The activation link issue has been fixed. So sorry about that. I’ll activate you from the back end now, but you could also copy the url in the activation email, and paste it in a new window.

      :hug:

  3. Thanks Nicole for this article, because I’ve been told my progesterone level is low. Will discuss it further with my fertility doctor. And I’m really considering the herbal path especially after reading the article on it here. Please what’s your take? Thank you.

  4. I just saw dis post again. I stoped the progesterone drug at 4 months on my drs instruction but lost the baby at 21weeks. I was told i had fibroid which may be d cause of the miscarriage. I did mymectomy in december and now i am trying for another baby. My Gynea said i wil be placed on progesterone drug once am confirmed pregnant. Its not been easy ttc after miscarriage n mymectomy but am trusting God completely and i know he will do it for me soon. Thanks for this platform and keep me in your prayers. I will com back to share my testimony so by Gods grace. My love to your twins. Hugs

  5. Hmmm, this is an interesting write up. Was recently instructed to do an all round medical check up at my place of work. And while doing the breast scan, the doctor asked me some questions; *note this is the first time of ever seeing this doctor*. He went over my left breast a couple of times and asked how many kids i had, i said none and if I get any discharge from my breasts and I said no. He then asked how long I have been married and i told him and he immediately asked if I had done IVF.

    Hmmm, I was like not yet but i am about to. He then goes that he can easily tell that I have PCOS. He asked if I had done hormone profile and I said yes but I couldn’t tell what the results were in respect to progesterone when he asked because I didn’t pay attention to it.

    I am sure he saw something in my breast scan relating to progesterone and PCOS but he told me I had nothing to worry about.

    This piece has educated me further.

    Thanks @nicole

    Folly.
    xx

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