The hormone produced by the cells of the corpus luteum of the ovary is called progesterone. With the same composition as female estrogens and male androgen hormones, progesterone is a steroid. The corpus luteum, responsible for this production, develops in the ovary when there is the release of a mature egg. The progesterone level, therefore, is higher during the second half of the menstrual cycle.
When an egg is produced and it is not fertilized and released, progesterone production becomes lower, and then menstruation and degeneration of the corpus luteum occurs. This hormone is found in three places in the female body: in the ovaries (corpus luteum), in the placenta and in the adrenals.
What is progesterone for?
Basically, this is the hormone that makes pregnancy possible, a fact that is even expressed in its name: pro geste = in favor of pregnancy. Its main function is to make the inside of the uterus ready to receive a fertilized egg, and this happens by increasing the thickness and blood circulation, starting the pregnancy. The mucus of the ovary is also formed, necessary for the implantation of the egg to be possible.
Unlike estrogen, progesterone has no influence on determining female sexual characteristics. Its activity is simply to work on preparing the uterus for a possible pregnancy and, in addition, to stimulate milk production.
Progesterone and contraceptives
This hormone was also used as a basis in the development of oral contraceptives which, when combined with estrogens, inhibit ovulation. The hormone is essential for menstruation, fertilization, transport and implantation of the fertilized egg, maintenance of pregnancy and lactation.
The importance and benefits it brings to women
The hormone is responsible for sustaining the fetus in the uterus and ends up stimulating the glands in the fallopian tube and endometrium to secrete essential nutrients to the zygote during the first two weeks of pregnancy.
This hormone is also important to increase the alveolar pockets of the mammary glands, forming a secretory epithelium, making milk secretion easier. It is also essential to prevent the rejection of the maternal body to the fetus.
It has been proven in studies that in addition to all the benefits and functions mentioned, the hormone stimulates the action of osteoblasts, which are the cells responsible for the formation of bones. With this, its action helps in the prevention and control of osteoporosis. In addition, the administration of contraceptives with progesterone brings hormonal balance during the period of menstruation – the hormonal change during this period is largely responsible for the symptoms of PMS – thereby helping to relieve the symptoms of Menstrual Tension.