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Alternative namesThis is a test that measures the amount of progesterone in the blood.
How the test is performed
Blood is drawn from a vein, usually on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic, and an elastic band is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and restrict blood flow through the vein. This causes veins below the band to fill with blood.
A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. During the procedure, the band is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
How to prepare for the test
Your health care provider may advise you to stop taking drugs that may affect the test. Drugs that can interfere with the test include progesterone and birth control pills.
For infants and children:
How the test will feelWhen the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the test is performed
This test is performed to evaluate disorders associated with abnormal progesterone levels. Progesterone is a steroid hormone that is made in, and released from, the corpus luteum, placenta, and adrenal gland.
In men, progesterone probably has no normal function except as an intermediate in the synthesis of other steroid hormones. In women, progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy and the breasts for milk production. After ovulation, progesterone blocks proliferation of the endometrium and stimulates the uterus to prepare for implantation of a fertilized egg. Progesterone levels continue to rise in early pregnancy.
What abnormal results meanGreater-than-normal levels may indicate:
What the risks are
Special considerationsVeins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Update Date: 7/30/2003Douglas A. Levine, M.D., Gynecology Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT