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    Low Progesterone in Young(er) Woman
    henhito posted:
    I went to the dr. a two weeks ago because of some issues with vertigo and he took a blood test and looked at a whole lot of things. This week when I went in the doctor said that my blood work was beautiful except for a low progesterone level. He said that he's consult someone about it but never came back and the nurse came in and told me I had to leave (I'm not very fond of this particular doctor). I saw on the chart that for progesterone it said >.5 - I don't really know what that means and I found on website that had two ways of measuring so I couldn't figure it out. The blood was taken on the 21st day of my cycle (If you count starting from the first day of menstruation), I am on Ortho Tricyclen Lo, and if it makes any difference I'm 27 years old. I have a well woman check up this Friday at the same office with a different doctor and want to know if there are any questions that I should ask while I'm there concerning the low progesterone. Thank you . This is the second time I'm trying to post this, I can't seem to find the first one anywhere, so if you see a repeat I'm sorry, please just direct me to the first one. Thanks.
    J_Harrison_Hohner responded:
    Dear henhito: Good questions: your post brings forward two very good points about blood hormones tests in women. First, concerns "normal" progesterone levels. As you likely know, progesterone is low before ovulation and after ovulation it increases with the highest level being about day 21 of a 28 day cycle. In our lab a common day 21 level would be in the 20's. Thus, in a young woman a very low progesterone would suggest that ovulation did not occur in that cycle. If some one is trying to conceive that is not good news; in some one on birth control pills (BCP) that is confirmation that she is protected from unplanned pregnancy. Remember as well that most natural hormones can be produced in varying amounts from one cycle to another--or even from one time of day to another (eg blood testosterone levels tend to be higher in the morning). The second point concerns the ability of common lab tests to accurately measure synthetic estrogen and progesterone (progestin) levels. The blood tests are designed for measuring natural ovarian-produced estrogen and progesterone. In most cases ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate levels will not be reflected in our usual hormone blood tests. This is ironic as it takes significant levels of the synthetic estrogen and progesterone to suppress the ovary to prevent ovulation and to provide good cycle control. ...But our tests do not reflect those accurate hormonal levels. Thus, I do not believe that the low progesterone level is related to the vertigo--it reflects the activity of your BCP. Hope you can get to the cause of the vertigo. And to be sure that I have not missed something, be sure to restate your excellent question to the MD you'll see on Friday. Yours, Jane

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