Progesterone is a female hormone that plays important roles in the second half of the menstrual cycle, as well as during pregnancy.
It is produced in the ovary in the second phase of the menstrual cycle. Once a follicle begins its growth stimulated by hormones such as estrogen and FSH, a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) occurs, stimulating ovulation. After the egg is released, the follicle becomes a structure called the corpus luteum, from which progesterone is produced.
Effects on the body
It is the hormone responsible for the changes that occur in the layer that lines the inside of the uterus, known as the endometrium, in the second phase of the menstrual cycle and started after ovulation. These changes are produced in order to provide a suitable environment for the fertilized egg to lodge and thus the growth and development of the embryo throughout the pregnancy.
In addition, it causes the mucous secretion that normally occupies the opening in the cervix to thicken, sealing and preventing the fertilized egg from being lost through the vagina.
Progesterone also produces changes outside the uterus. These include a slight increase in body temperature and stimulation of the breasts to increase the number of glands capable of producing milk.
These changes occur cyclically with each menstrual period. That is, every 28 to 35 days, according to the length of the cycle in each woman .
Function that this hormone fulfills during pregnancy
When the egg is fertilized, it passes into the uterine cavity and settles in the endometrium. The developing embryo produces a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) that stimulates the maturation of the corpus luteum located in the ovary, which produces the progesterone that maintains pregnancy during the first trimester. Once this period is over, the placenta forms and produces progesterone until the end of pregnancy.
Under what conditions is progesterone used as a medical treatment
- – Changes in ovulation;
- – Fertility treatments;
- – Prevention of repetitive abortions due to insufficiency of the corpus luteum;
- – Complement to estrogen treatment in menopausal women who have a uterus.