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Progesterone

  • Progesterone gel - Progesterone gel, sold under the brand name Crinone, is also applied vaginally, only instead of being suspended in a soft base, it is suspended in a gel and comes in an applicator that resembles a tampon. Like progesterone suppositories, Crinone gel also allows the hormone direct access to the uterus and is often used as a progesterone supplement in IUI and IVF cycles. Many women prefer the gel form over suppositories because it is less messy and better at delaying premature periods. Others, however, may experience vaginal irritation as a result of accumulated gel buildup, as well as the usual side effects, which include bloating, cramps, dizziness, drowsiness, headache and nausea.

  • Injectable Progesterone - The most frequently used form of progesterone therapy is injectable because it is seen as the most effective, particularly for IVF procedures. The progesterone is suspended in an oil, commonly sesame or peanut, and injected intramuscularly once a day. A larger needle is needed to administer progesterone injections than other fertility medications because of the relatively high viscosity of the oily solution, which some women may find intimidating.

  • Progesterone creams - Unlike other forms of progesterone, progesterone creams are available over the counter because they only deliver a small amount of the hormone. Progesterone is very fat-soluble, so it is easily absorbed through the skin and into capillary blood. Creams may be effective for women with fairly normal menstrual problems and those with symptoms of menopause, but the dosages are not high enough to treat serious hormonal issues.

  • Progesterone medications are usually administered starting two or three days after ovulation, and therapy will continue until you get pregnant or begin your period. Doses vary depending upon your individual needs and the form of progesterone you are using. Once you become pregnant, your treatment may be continued for 10 to 12 more weeks to give the placenta time to produce sufficient amounts of natural progesterone for the remainder of your pregnancy.

  • Some of progesterone's other functions include protecting against fibrocysts, helping the body use fat for energy and helping normalize blood sugar levels, but it is proven most effective in increasing pregnancy rates among women with luteal phase defects. Studies show pregnancy rates as high as 77 percent in women undergoing progesterone therapy. For more information on the benefits of progesterone therapy as part of infertility treatment, talk to your doctor.


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