Progesterone is a hormone that is naturally generated by women under normal circumstances. Progesterone levels are typically low at the start of a woman's menstrual cycle, but they increase gradually and peak at the point of menstruation. They are also found at sustained, elevated levels throughout pregnancy. Oral progesterone supplements are used for a variety of treatments, including infertility, abnormal vaginal bleeding and endometriosis. Progesterone is also an ingredient in many oral contraceptives.
Inducing Menstrual Bleeding Using Progesterone
In many cases, a reproductive woman will have a period after stopping an oral progesterone regimen. The most common example of this is with ordinary oral contraceptives that include the hormone. Women typically take three weeks of active pills, which include progesterone, then switch to placebo pills for one week, which allows a menstrual period to begin. In some cases, a woman may be prescribed a progesterone contraception regimen or a regimen of another type of oral progesterone that does not include a cycle of placebo pills. In situations like these, where progesterone is ingested daily, the woman will not have any menstrual periods at all until the hormone regimen is discontinued. As long as a woman's reproductive system is functioning normally, she will resume monthly periods after stopping progesterone therapy. If there are abnormalities in the woman's reproductive system, whether or not her periods resume will depend on the specifics of the abnormalities.
Types of Progesterone
Oral progesterone pills are one of the most common forms of the hormone. In addition to oral contraception that includes progesterone, there are other prescription pills such as Provera that are more commonly used to treat diseases and disorders in the short or long term. Provera may be prescribed for severe menopause symptoms, endometriosis, endometrial cancer or as part of estrogen replacement therapy, which can increase the risk of endometriosis. Progesterone is also available as an intramuscular injection, vaginal cream, skin cream or vaginal suppository. All these forms have different rates of absorption that tend to be less effective than oral progesterone, but a doctor may prescribe one of them depending on the distinct characteristics of a given patient's reproductive health.