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What is progesterone?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Progesterone is a hormone; it is produced, along with estrogen, by the ovaries.   Watch the animation to learn more about progesterone and the ovaries.


Progesterone is a female hormone that prevents the lining of the uterus from thickening. It is used as part of hormone replacement therapy in post-menopausal women. In hormone replacement therapy, women receive estrogen to treat menopause symptoms. Estrogen also thickens the lining of the uterus and can increase the risk of uterine cancer. Progesterone is administered in conjunction with estrogen to reduce this risk. Progesterone is available in various forms: tablets, capsules, injections, vaginal inserts and vaginal gel.  Progesterone is available under the names First Progesterone MC10, First Progesterone MC5, Crinone, Endometrin, Pro-Gest and Prometrium. Progesterone is also used to stimulate menstruation in women of childbearing age who are not menstruating regularly or at all. Progesterone can also be used in birth control and as an infertility treatment.

Jan L. Shifren, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
Progesterone together with estrogen prepares the lining of the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg (embryo) and helps maintain early pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, levels of estrogen and progesterone drop, causing the uterine lining to shed.

Continue Learning about Progesterone

What should I know about progesterone before using it?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
When used in combination with estrogen as part of hormone replacement therapy, progesterone can ...
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Can progesterone cream help women in menopause?
Discovery HealthDiscovery Health
Menopause. This one word can make women shudder and men run for the hills. It is a sometimes despise...
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Could I be allergic to progesterone?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
While it is pretty unlikely, it is possible to be allergic to progesterone. In the rare cases that a...
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Where can I buy a progesterone cream?
Marcy Holmes, MSN, NPMarcy Holmes, MSN, NP
You can get the low-dose, over-the-counter progesterone cream formulas at most health food stores, o...
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.