Low progesterone can be caused by hormone changes brought on by the beginning stages of menopause. Some women experience perimenopause in their early to late 30s. Symptoms of low progesterone include fibrocystic breasts, hot flushes, insomnia, mood changes and spotting in between menstrual cycles. Getting an accurate view of your hormone levels requires a few tests. Find out how you can tell if you are suffering from low progesterone.
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Things you need
- Blood tests
- Saliva test
Keep a record of your menstrual cycles. Progesterone levels become elevated when an egg is released and remain high for a couple of days. They will continue to rise if the woman gets pregnant or start to go down at the beginning of the menstrual cycle. By recording your menstrual cycles, you will be able to determine when your progesterone is at its highest. This is essential for knowing when to take a progesterone test in order to get an accurate result. Mark on a calender first day of your period and the last.
Stop taking any birth control or any medication that has either oestrogen or progesterone for four weeks. Any outside sources of hormones can alter the results of a progesterone test.
Take a blood test. Your doctor will have to write you a prescription to have blood taken at a lab. Schedule an appointment to avoid long lines. The lab will take a small amount of blood to have it analysed and the results are sent to your doctor. If your periods are irregular, you may have to have several blood samples take to get a clear picture of your progesterone levels. Usually, these samples are taken everyday for several days in a row.
Bring the record of your menstrual cycles with you to help the doctor determine if your levels are normal. Progesterone levels between the first to sixth day after your period are normally under 100 ng/dl. Levels between days 7 and 14 generally run from 20 to 150 ng/dl. Days 15 and 28 typically are between 250 to 2,800 ng/dL.
Order a saliva test from an online laboratory. Several online laboratories like ENS - Blucare Inc. sell hormone kits that are shipped to your home with instructions on how to obtain saliva. People in the alternative heath field argue that much of the progesterone found in the blood is higher than what is actually being used. Dr. John Lee at www.johnleemd.com, argues that the progesterone in the saliva is more biologically active then that found in the blood. The majority of the progesterone that can be used in the body carried through the bloodstream to the liver. Once there, it is excreted as bile. It is his estimate that 2 to 5 per cent of the progesterone that we use goes to the saliva and tissues. Therefore, a saliva test gives a patient a more accurate picture of her levels of progesterone. Results of the saliva test are then mailed to you within a couple of weeks.
Tips and warnings
- Get both a blood and saliva test to ensure getting the best results.
- Refrain from going back on birth control before receiving the results of your test. If they come back inconclusive, you may have to take another test.
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