Treating Female Infertility: Progesterone Supplementaion
If you and your partner are pursuing fertility treatments, you may already be taking numerous fertility drugs to help increase your chances of pregnancy.
There are numerous different fertility medications, and your reproductive endocrinologist will provide you with one that can specifically address your fertility issues. The hormone progesterone is often given to women experiencing problems with menstruation and ovulation.
What is Progesterone?
Progesterone is one of the primary female reproductive hormones. It is produced by the corpus luteum, which develops immediately after ovulation.
The progesterone released by the corpus luteum helps to build up your endometrium so that is ready for implantation of a fertilized egg. If pregnancy does not occur, the progesterone levels begin to drop off, causing the endometrial lining to shed in the form of your menstrual period.
What is Progesterone Used For?
Progesterone is often given to women whose corpus luteums do not produce enough progesterone. When this happens, the endometrial lining does not thicken enough to allow for implantation. Progesterone is administered to increase the length of the luteal phase, helping to allow for pregnancy.
Progesterone is also used to treat women who do not menstruate regularly. Progesterone helps to thicken the endometrial lining. As the progesterone begins to wear off, menstruation begins.
Who Can Benefit from Progesterone Therapy?
Progesterone therapy may benefit women experiencing:
- luteal phase disorders
Types of Progesterone Therapy
There are numerous different types of progesterone therapy:
- Synthetic Progesterone: Synthetic progesterone is a medication that mimics the way natural progesterone works. It is administered orally or through intramuscular injection and is typically used to help trigger menstruation. Synthetic progesterone is often preferred because it is associated with fewer side effects than natural progesterone.
- Oral Progesterone: Oral progesterone is a natural form of the hormone and is used to help supplement the luteal phase. It is particularly useful for IUI treatments. Common side effects include dizziness and sleepiness.
- Progesterone Suppositories: Progesterone suppositories consist of natural progesterone suspended in cocoa buter. They are inserted into the vagina where they melt and are absorbed. These suppositories tend to target the uterine area better, but can be messy and uncomfortable.
- Bioadhesive Gel: Bioadhesive gel also contains a natural form of progesterone. It is inserted into the vagina using a tampon-like applicator. Bioadhesive gel is highly effective because it specifically targets the uterine area. It is frequently used with IVF and IUI treatments. Side effects can include vaginal irritation.
- Injectable Progesterone: Injectable progesterone is the type of progesterone therapy that is used most frequently. It is seen as the best type of progesterone medication, particularly for IVF procedures.
How to Take Progesterone
Progesterone therapy usually begins two or three days after ovulation has occurred. Therapy will continue until you get pregnant or begin your menstrual period. Dosages vary depending upon the type of progesterone therapy you are using.
How Effective is Progesterone Therapy?
Progesterone therapy does prove effective when it comes to increasing pregnancy rates among women with luteal phase defects. Studies show pregnancy rates as high as 77% in women taking progesterone therapy.