Want to Test Your Progesterone? Here’s What a PdG Test Can Tell You

by Jul 7, 2021

Progesterone plays a key role in the menstrual cycle and early pregnancy. For couples trying to conceive, monitoring progesterone levels via progesterone testing is a reliable way to confirm that ovulation has occurred.

However, gone are the days where you have to go to the doctor’s office for a progesterone test. With at-home PdG (the urine metabolite of progesterone) testing now available, confirming ovulation is much easier and more accessible than ever before.

Here is a look at what PdG is, how it relates to progesterone, and everything you need to know about testing for progesterone and PdG to confirm ovulation.

What is PdG?

PdG or “Pregnanediol Glucuronide” is the urine metabolite of the hormone progesterone.  When progesterone is produced in the ovaries after ovulation, it then circulates throughout the bloodstream, metabolizes, and is finally released in the urine as PdG.

If your PdG levels are higher than your baseline, this is a good sign that your body is producing progesterone at an elevated rate.  Consistent PdG testing for several days can give you insight into whether or not you have ovulated – a necessary component of getting pregnant.

Why should you take a progesterone test?

The main reason why you should take a progesterone test is to determine if and when you are ovulating.

This is particularly useful for women at the beginning of their fertility journey, those struggling to become pregnant, and/or those with conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis. With the help of progesterone testing, your doctor will be able to determine whether or not your body is ovulating normally. If it isn’t, they can then provide further advice and treatment options to help you get pregnant.

Testing for progesterone can also be helpful for women in the early stages of pregnancy due to the role it plays in supporting the early development of the uterus and endometrium. If you have experienced frequent miscarriages or are considered to have a high-risk pregnancy, your doctor may want to check your progesterone levels regularly as a way to monitor the overall health of your pregnancy.

When should you test for progesterone?

The best time to test for the presence of progesterone is approximately 6-8 days after ovulation, as this is when progesterone levels are likely to be the highest. If you base your calculations on a 28-day cycle, that means you should aim to test for progesterone around day 21.

If ovulation has occurred, you should be able to detect a noticeable rise in your progesterone levels around this time. If you do not detect a rise in progesterone, this could be a sign that you either have not ovulated or perhaps you have miscalculated your ovulation date.

If you continue to test for progesterone throughout your cycle, you may notice that your progesterone levels drop towards the end of the luteal phase. This is a sign that conception has not occurred and that you will have your period soon.

However, in the event that implantation has occurred, progesterone levels will remain elevated. This indicates that your body is preparing the uterus for pregnancy.

How do you test your progesterone levels?

Types of progesterone tests for ovulation

There is more than one way to test for the presence of progesterone in your body

  1. At the doctor’s office with a blood test
  2. At home with a PdG test

How to test progesterone levels at the doctor

The first and more “traditional” method of testing for progesterone is by having a “serum progesterone test” at your doctor’s office. This involves your doctor collecting a sample of blood and then sending it off to be tested at a laboratory.

The procedure itself is relatively quick and risk-free, however, the main downside is that it can take a few days to receive your results. For couples looking to verify that ovulation has occurred, serum progesterone testing may not be the best option as it only provides you with your progesterone levels at a specific moment in time, and will not be able to account for any fluctuations or surges.

Therefore, unless you plan to have a blood test for several days in a row, you may not receive an accurate portrayal of your ovulation patterns with serum progesterone testing alone.

How to test progesterone levels at home

If you’re not keen on having a blood test at the doctor’s office, there is an alternative way to test for the presence of progesterone in your body at home – and that is with the help of a PdG test.

This type of progesterone testing does not measure the presence of progesterone in the blood, but it rather tests for the metabolized form of progesterone, Pregnanediol Glucuronide (PdG), that can be found in the urine. This method of testing is not only more convenient, but it is much easier to test and track over time – providing you with more accurate insights about your ovulation patterns and fertility.

How to read the PdG results

Your PdG test results may differ depending on the type of PdG test that you use. For example, if you are using a Proov test, you will be given either a positive or negative result after taking the test. If your result is positive, this means that you have at least 5 ug/ml of PdG in your urine – an indication that ovulation has occurred. If your result is negative, this means that you have less than 5 ug/ml of PdG in your urine and have not ovulated.

With Mira Confirm, however, you will receive a numeric value of your PdG levels. You can then use this data to confirm ovulation by tracking and monitoring your PdG levels over time, making sure to keep an eye out for any changes or fluctuations.

Other progesterone test considerations

It is important to note that the accuracy of your progesterone test may be impacted by other factors.

Irregular cycles

If your menstrual cycle is irregular, the recommendation of “aim to test for progesterone around day 21 of your cycle” may not apply to you.

Instead, you may need to test more frequently throughout your cycle to identify signs and patterns that indicate ovulation. At-home progesterone testing is perfect for women in this situation because it allows for increased flexibility and frequency of testing – something that is not always easy to achieve with a doctor at a doctor’s office.

Hormone imbalance

A potential hormonal imbalance can also affect the accuracy of your progesterone test results and ability to predict ovulation. That’s because if your body is producing too much estrogen or progesterone, it is much more difficult for ovulation to occur.

Therefore, even if your progesterone test shows high levels of progesterone in your blood or PdG in your urine, you may not have ovulated but rather are experiencing a hormonal imbalance.

Conditions like PCOS or endometriosis

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis are conditions that can affect your body’s ability to ovulate. If you have either of these conditions, it may be extremely difficult to predict ovulation with progesterone testing alone.

If you think that you may be experiencing PCOS or endometriosis, speak with your doctor immediately and know that you are not alone. An estimated 6-12% of US women are affected by PCOS and 2-10% of US women are affected by endometriosis each year. Your doctor will be able to help you find the appropriate treatment for you.

How Mira can help

Testing for progesterone and confirming ovulation is only one part of your fertility journey. Here’s how Mira can help you throughout the entire process.

Understanding your fertile window

Thanks to the Mira app, analyzer, and fertility wands, it’s incredibly easy to understand your menstrual cycle, track your hormonal patterns, and even pinpoint your fertile window. You can do this by measuring the presence of luteinizing hormone (LH) and estrogen in your urine, and then using this information to plan intercourse around the days when you are the most fertile.

Confirming ovulation

In addition to helping you to identify your fertile window, Mira can also help you confirm that ovulation has in fact occurred.

Thanks to the new Mira Confirm Wands, you can now test and track the presence of PdG in your urine to confirm whether or not you have ovulated. This knowledge is particularly helpful for couples trying to get pregnant.

✔️ Medically Reviewed by Katerina Shkodzik, M.D., OB-GYN

Dr. Katerina Shkodzik is a certified OB-GYN with a special focus on reproductive endocrinology and infertility issues. She has been practising since 2015.

Dr. Shkodzik completed her residency program in the Department of OB/GYN at the Belarusian State Medical University and fellowship program in the Department of Gynecological Surgery at the Medical University of Bialystok, Poland.

Dr. Shkodzik is extensively involved in digital health projects providing her medical expertise and integrating of cutting edge technologies in medical science and clinical practice since 2018.

Dr. Shkodzik has participated in several studies focused on PCOS, endometriosis, menstrual cycle characteristics and their abnormalities based on big data of digital health in collaboration with leading universities.

She believes that paying special attention to women's health is a crucial step to improving the world we live in.

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