What is Progesterone?
Progesterone is a hormone that plays an important role in the female reproductive system. Although it is also found at low levels in men, progesterone is better known for its role in regulating the female menstrual cycle, especially preparing the uterus for pregnancy.
Progesterone is mainly produced by the corpus luteum, a temporary endocrine structure that develops in the ovary during the second half of the menstrual cycle. It is also produced in smaller quantities by the ovaries themselves, as well as the adrenal glands.
It has a number of important functions including:
- Preparing the uterine lining for a potential pregnancy.
- Prohibiting the uterus’ muscle walls from contracting and expelling an egg.
- Causing glands in the uterus to provide nutrients to the embryo.
Low levels of progesterone can have some troublesome effects, such as abnormal uterine bleeding, irregular periods, and difficulty maintaining a pregnancy.
The infographic below contains a lot more useful information about progesterone: what it does, how it does it, and what to do if your progesterone levels are too low.