Progesterone is a type of hormone produced mainly in the ovaries following ovulation each month. It plays a critical role in women’s menstrual cycle and in maintaining the early stages of pregnancy.

In the menstrual cycle, progesterone helps prepare the lining of the uterus (known as the endometrium) for the potential implantation of a fertilized egg. If a woman’s egg is fertilized by a sperm, progesterone assists in maintaining the endometrium, which aids in the growth and development of the pregnancy.

If fertilization does not occur, progesterone levels will drop, leading to the shedding of the uterine lining during the menstrual period. This drop in progesterone triggers the start of a new menstrual cycle.

Progesterone also helps prepare the breasts for milk production during pregnancy.

Synthetic forms of progesterone, known as progestins, are used in a variety of hormonal treatments, including certain types of birth control and hormone replacement therapy during menopause.

In men, progesterone is involved in the creation of sperm, or spermatogenesis, but it’s present in much lower amounts than in women.

Like all hormones, the balance of progesterone is important, and too much or too little can lead to health issues, including infertility, irregular menstrual cycles, and symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopause.

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