Progesterone and Fertility.
I am doing a post on this topic as low progesterone after ovulation was the reason I struggled to get pregnant for 16 months and I believe it was the reason for my chemical pregnancy and spotting during early pregnancy. If you are aware of the day you ovulate (through physical signs and charting your temperatures) and you spot lots before your period is due or you come on your period less than 12 days after you ovulate, then please read on.
It could be that your progesterone levels drop too early causing you to have a shorter than average luteal phase and although it is really problematic when trying to conceive the problem could be very easily rectified.
Low progesterone and Fertility.
Low progesterone after ovulation may cause a short luteal phase which means that the lining of your uterus may shed before a fertilised egg can implant. This is a massive hindrance if you are trying to get pregnant but is easily solved either naturally through Fertility herbs and Fertility vitamins including Vitex, Maca root and Vitamin B6 or with the use of progesterone treatment prescribed my your doctor.
Progesterone levels after ovulation should be nice and high and remain high for at least 12 days. If progesterone levels drop to soon then your chances of getting pregnant are reduced and you could even suffer an early miscarriage if you successfully conceive which is heart breaking….trust me I know. Having low progesterone in early pregnancy may cause a miscarriage as the lining of the uterus can start to shed and along with it the precious embryo.
I suffer from low progesterone and a luteal phase defect and I struggled to conceive my son for 16 long months. My luteal phase was particularly short and I wanted to try to lengthen it naturally using ‘Fertility herbs and Fertility vitamins’ first but my issue was so bad and I was so stressed out I had to seek help from a gynecologist.
There are 4 main forms of progesterone treatment and I will briefly discuss the positives and negatives below.
Which progesterone treatment should I choose? Tablets?, Creams? Injections? or suppositories?
– The injections are very successful but it is unlikely that you would be prescribed the injections to do yourself at home. This form of the treatment is usually performed after IVF under controlled conditions so is probably not an option for most of us. It increases the blood levels of the progesterone and therefore maintains the uterus lining ready for implantation of the fertilised egg.
– The results from tablets seem to be a bit mixed and some studies suggest that although blood levels reach higher levels than the creams and suppositories their effects are poorer. They have little local affect on the uterus lining.
– The progesterone creams do not really increase the levels of progesterone in the blood stream but as you rub it into the thigh which is close to your uterus it could have some local effects on the uterus. Again the results are very mixed.
– I have also been doing some research on the use of Pregnenolone which is the pre cursor to progesterone. Research has shown that by rubbing Pregnenolone cream into your skin (usually the thigh) it can naturally increase the amount of progesterone made by your body. As you can buy this cream off the internet it might be worth looking into especially if you are keen to increase your progesterone levels naturally. I will be writing a separate post on the use of this cream in my blog page shortly.
– Progesterone suppositories seem to have a very good success rate and are favored by most gynecologists. Although the suppositories do not increase blood levels as high as the tablets or injections there is evidence to suggest that by inserting the suppository close to where it is needed (the uterus) it can have the biggest affect and this is why they are used more often in the UK with great success.
How to use progesterone.
Here I will go through in detail how to use the progesterone suppositories to get the most out of this treatment and give yourself the best chance of success.
When to start taking progesterone?
If you chart your cycles and you can confirm when you ovulate then start taking it after 3 mornings of high temperatures. This is confirm you have definitely ovulated before taking the treatment.
You should stop taking them 16 days after ovulation if your pregnancy tests are negative and you should come on your period a few days later. Your doctor will likely tell you to stop taking them 12-14 days after ovulation but this is too early to definitely confirm if you are pregnant or not. Lots of women don’t get their positive tests for 15/16 days after ovulation due to late implantation and you could bring on an early miscarriage by stopping them too early. If you get a positive pregnancy test then carry on taking it until you are 14-16 weeks pregnant.
If you get a negative test and stop taking the progesterone but your period does not arrive after a few days then it would be wise to do a pregnancy test to make sure.
Progesterone dose and how to use progesterone suppositories?
This will vary depending on the brand of progesterone suppository you are prescribed but this is what I was advised by my gynecologist and the instructions on how to take them
– Cyclogest suppositories 200mg vaginally or rectally twice daily from day 14 of your cycle for 12 days each cycle. If you become pregnant then continue this treatment until about 14-16 weeks.
These instructions did not take into account that my cycles were irregular in length and I did not ovulate on the same day each cycle and definitely not on cycle day 14. This is another reason when monitoring your cycles and your fertile signs is important. If I had followed these instructions then I would never have concieved as I probably wouldn’t of ovulated.
On the cycles I conceived both my son and daughter using progesterone I ovulated later than day 14 and by charting my cycles I started the treatment after ovulation.
Side effects of progesterone.
I did not have any negative side effects from using this treatment. I had no spotting which was great but they were a be a bit messy to use. They are waxy in texture and shaped like a bullet so although were easy to insert they melt inside you.
I would recommend lying down for a bit after inserting them so that once melted they can coat your cervix and the inside of the vagina and do their magic. Inevitably some will leak out as the day goes on but this is normal and nothing to worry about. Some women complain of irritation to their vagina but I didn’t experience this. Some women get nausea and head aches but again this depends on the individual.
Do not have sex or have oral sex after use the progesterone as it may irritate your man’s penis and he shouldn’t ingest any.
Progesterone and miscarriage.
Does progesterone help prevent miscarriage? The answer to this is both yes and no.
Yes, progesterone may prevent early miscarriage.
If you use Progesterone treatment after ovulation and carry on taking it until your period is missed then it can help maintain your uterus lining and therefore aid in implantation. Progesterone may therefore prevent an early miscarriage or chemical pregnancy by giving the egg the chance to implant properly. If you carry on taking the progesterone until you are 16 weeks pregnant then your baby will have every chance to survive. At 14 – 16 weeks gestation the placenta takes over the production of progesterone so you can stop taking it.
No, progesterone will not maintain an inviable pregnancy.
Although progesterone can help aid a fertilized egg implant and it helps to maintain a nutrient thick uterine lining to feed your baby, it will not support an in-viable pregnancy. Lots of studies have shown that if there is a chromosomal problem with the developing embryo then a miscarriage will occur even when taking progesterone treatment. If you get pregnant and there is a problem then your body will abort the pregnancy if necessary although the miscarriage will more than likely be delayed. This happened to a friend of mine who miscarried at 7 weeks due to chromosome abnormality with the baby despite being on progesterone treatment.
Should you try progesterone treatment?
My thoughts on this are as follows…. if it is not going to do you or your baby any harm and it will not support an in-viable pregnancy then it is better to try them than not if you are having recurrent early miscarriages or have a short luteal phase. I truly believe if I had not used progesterone to help maintain my lining, I would not have my son or daughter here today and there are countless success stories online of women who have experienced the same success.
If you discover you have a short luteal phase (shorter than 11-12 days) and you are struggling to get pregnant, if you experienced recurrent early miscarriages along with spotting between ovulation and your period, then speak to you GP about progesterone suppositories. It could be your solution like it was mine.
Please comment below if you have had any experiences with using progesterone.