In women progesterone is mainly made in ovary. The production of progesterone is increasing rapidly after ovulation. Its level is highest during luteal period especially from day 19 to day 22 of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone prepares uterine inner lining for implantation; it prevents further ovulation and it makes mucus thicker to prevent sperm to penetrate. If fertilization does not occur, progesterone level drops and menstruation takes place. If fertilization happens, much more progesterone is produced during pregnancy by the placenta. During this period, progesterone prevents miscarriage, because it decreases the maternal immune response to accept the pregnancy; it also reduces uterine smooth muscle contractility. It contributes to the survival and development of the embryo and fetus.
Progesterone is also made in adrenal gland under normal physiological condition. It is also a precursor to oestrogen, testosterone and cortisol- an adrenal cortical hormone. Cortisol is essential for stress response, sugar and electrolyte balance, blood pressure and general survival. During chronic stress condition, progesterone secretion is reduced because the body made more cortisol responding to stress using progesterone.
Progesterone deficiency is very common. The symptoms include infertility, miscarriage, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), breast tenderness, insomnia, unexplained weight gain and anxiety.
Can acupuncture help progesterone deficiency? Acupuncture can help ovarian circulation to improve progesterone production. Acupuncture can improve adrenal gland function and reduce stress to reduce progesterone usage.