Progesterone, often prescribed for women during infertility treatments, has a number of important purposes.
The corpus luteum (cyst-like structure formed following the ovarian follicle’s release of the oocyte), produces progesterone in typical, un-medicated cycles. By increasing the supply of blood, progesterone vascularizes the uterus and builds a lining that can receive the fertilized egg. If pregnancy does not occur, progesterone output drops off after 11-13 days, causing the lining to shed and the woman has her period.
Therefore, infertility treatments involving progesterone may trigger menstruation or provide luteal phase supplementation
- Triggering Menstruation
- Menstruation is triggered at the beginning of a treatment cycle for anovulatory women with infrequent periods . Progesterone dosing vascularizes the lining of the uterus; when this ceases, progesterone levels drop off. As the uterine lining breaks down, menstruation begins.
- Luteal Phase Supplementation
- In an effort to bump up the progesterone already produced by the corpus luteum, luteal phase supplementation patients begin progesterone after ovulation. While this can sometimes be done for the sake of ‘insurance’, in other situations, such as when the corpus luteum isn’t functioning correctly, a lack of supplementation can prevent a successful pregnancy by bringing the luteal phase to a premature end.
Patients often do not produce progesterone in most medicated frozen embryo transfer protocols, meaning that in both the luteal phase and in early pregnancy, a complete progesterone supplementation will be necessary.
Keep in mind that progesterone has its limitations: It alone can not correct shortened luteal phases, especially when caused by poor oocyte development in the follicular phase.
Will eating yams boost progesterone levels?
Yams do not contain progesterone. However, the rumor persists because progesterone is synthesized in the lab from certain types of yams which contain a progesterone precursor called diosgenin.