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Ovulation test suggested high progesterone level. Pregnancy test came negative? What does a high progesterone level indicate?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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Hi there,

I had a 21 day ovulation test done & the doctor said my progesterone was either very healthy on the day that the test was done or I may be in my first trimester of pregnancy. I did a urine test at the doctor's which came up negative & have just had a blood test done today to confirm at the doctor's request.

If my prog level is 33.5 nmol/L, what would this mean?
I am a little confused as to what the doctor is implying.
Posted Sun, 21 Apr 2013 in Thyroid Problem and Hormonal Problems
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 46 minutes later
Hello and welcome to XXXXXXX

Thank you for writing to us.

A progesterone level of 33.5 nmol/L is indeed a high level. But, let me explain things to you in a more detailed manner, so that you understand how this level could be normal, and at times even an indicator to other conditions.

At first, a level of 33.5 nmol/L of progesterone is seen in the first and second trimester of pregnancy. This is why, your doctor suspected pregnancy.

But, although not commonly seen (as your progesterone level is quite high), these levels can at times be seen even during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Which is the phase when the largest amount of progesterone is produced. But, this level goes back down; if the egg produced, is not fertilized.

You should also know that high levels of progesterone are seen in a number of other conditions (uterine cancer, in addition to low cortisol levels as seen in adrenal hyperplasia, etc.). Thus, you will have to recheck your progesterone levels, and if they have come down, there would be nothing to worry about. But, if they remain to be high, then a more elaborate screening will be required.

Also, if you have a sexual partner, could you please tell me when your last sexual contact was? And details on this (eg. vaginal penetration took place or not, use of contraceptive, etc.). As this would help in calculating the best time to check your pregnancy status and its possibility.

Also, are you on any medications? Hormonal supplements?

Thank you for your co-operation. I am always here to help you. Let us together try to better understand the cause for your high progesterone level and accordingly further investigate.

Awaiting your response.

Best wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Ovulation test suggested high progesterone level. Pregnancy test came negative? What does a high progesterone level indicate? 7 minutes later
Hi Dr Shoaib,

Thanks for your reply - the test was done to see if I am ovulating & the doctor did mention the lutueal phase. Did you see the report attached?

Yes, I have a partner. We were only intimate yesterday & are intimate quite often & use the withdrawal method for the fertile part of my cycle.

My last period was March the 7th & prior to that, 23 days before.

Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 14 minutes later

Thank you for your prompt response.

XXXXXX, as you are intimate with your partner quite often, there is a chance of pregnancy. This cannot be ruled out as yet. The withdrawal method only has a 50 % efficacy in preventing pregnancy, but I am sure you know this. Thus, please abstain from sexual contact, and get yourself tested for pregnancy 2 weeks since last sexual contact. This would be the best time to get tested, and also, as you should be expecting your period in a few days. If you do attain your period, then pregnancy itself can be ruled out and you need not go about the pregnancy test. But, if you do not have your period, please go about a pregnancy test. I hope I have explained this well enough? Do get back to me if you need me to further clarify. Okay XXXXXX?

Next. Yes XXXXXX, I have gone through your reports, and I would also like to shed some light on another point. Please note, your progesterone levels have been checked twice, once on 22/10/11 (22.4 nmol/L) which was also high, and on 27/03/13 (33.5 nmol/L), which is the more recent investigation. Is this correct?

If so, why wasn't your high progesterone level further investigated the first time around (i.e. 22/10/11)? And if it was, what did the doctor conclude?

XXXXXX, as you have a history of high progesterone levels, this indicates the presence of another cause all together. The possibilities (once pregnancy is ruled out) are:
-You have a high progesterone level during your luteal phase (this can be concluded only if your last test done in 2011 was also conducted during your luteal phase)
-There is some underlying cause (causing the high progesterone levels)

I would like to stop here and check if you have understood everything so far. I hope all the above information is clear, if not, please mention the unclear part, and I shall further elaborate. Also, put forward any other queries you have and I shall gladly clear them. If all is clear, I shall send you our next course of action.

Do not worry XXXXXX. We shall get to the core of this. Alright?

Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Ovulation test suggested high progesterone level. Pregnancy test came negative? What does a high progesterone level indicate? 6 minutes later
I have had a blood test today for pregnancy which I am getting the results for this evening.
The test done in 2011 was after I had got over subacute thyroditis as my doctor wanted to check that I was ovulating. Since then my thyroid is back to normal. No further discussion was given re the high level hence the time between tests, I am wanting to find out that I was ovulating for when my partner & I are ready to start a family.
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 3 minutes later

That is great news, congratulations and lots of luck.

That could explain the high progesterone level now. In that case, please keep me updated on the result from later this evening. Also, some additional information, you could repeat the test again in 7-14 days.

Wishing you and your partner lots of luck.

Best wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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