Progesterone, also called the pregnancy hormone, is a tiny piece in the Fertility puzzle, but one that we absolutely can’t do without.
It regulates our cycles, and plays a determinant role in conception.
When we don’t have enough of it, it causes Luteal Phase Defect which is responsible, as per studies, of 25% of early miscarriages and up to 10% of all female infertility cases.
Progesterone levels start going up once Ovulation occurs, and they peak around 7 days dpo. If the released egg didn’t get fertilized, levels will start dropping and we get our next period.
But sometimes levels are just low to start with, and they cannot sustain a healthy endometrial lining for the embryo to burrow into. If this is the case, you need to know, and a simple test can tell you where you stand.
We traditionally test Progesterone levels in blood, in a lab, and sometimes, depending on where we live, we might need a doctor’s referral for it.
The problem with Progesterone is that blood levels fluctuate greatly, up to 8 times fold during a 90 minutes window and from 2.3 to 40.1 ng/mL during a 24 h period, in the same subject!
Meaning that you may get tested at 10 am and have a level of 4 (and be told your levels are beyond low and you probably didn’t even ovulate) and get retested a couple of hours later and get a level of 31 (and be told your levels are awesome).
Both levels, taken individually, would be misleading.
Ideally, you should be tested 3-4 days in a row, and make an average.
Except no one does that. It is invasive and expensive.
Dr Amy Galliher-Beckley is a scientist who dealt with Luteal Phase defect herself. She knew that once it circulates through your blood, Progesterone is metabolized by your liver and gets excreted in your urine, under the form of PdG.
Scientists have been studying PdG for over 60 years, and latest studies were able to confirm that Pdg and Progesterone blood levels correlate.
Also, we know now that PdG levels in urine do not fluctuate much and are able to offer you a more even measure of what your blood levels averaged the day before.
And this is how Dr Beckley invented Proov, the urine strips that help you test your PdG levels from the comfort of your home. Being a urine metabolite and not a serum level, PdG isn’t measured using the same unit as Progesterone.
Proov tests get positive at 5 ug/ml which is the equivalent of 10 ng/mL in blood.
While 10 ng/mL serum level may appear quite low, please note that we are talking an “average” of 10 ng/mL, which, as per scientific studies, is the minimal value for a healthy luteal phase.
The biggest advantage of Proov remains the fact that you can test at home, 3-5 days in a row, in a non invasive manner, and get a more accurate picture of your Progesterone levels.
With this information you can decide to see your doctor and discuss your next step.
More about Progesterone, Pdg and Proov, in this interview with Dr Beckley, who is also a member of our FB group and would be happy to answer to your questions.