Progesterone vs. 17-hydroxyprogesterone

Question

Dear Doctor, Is there a difference in labs testing for progesterone vs. 17-hydroxyprogesterone? Can you explain why would test for one, as opposed to the other, if there is? Thank you!

Answer

Last Updated: April 28, 2024

Progesterone (P) and 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP) are different hormones. 17-OHP is an intermediate derived from P on the pathway to forming cortisol, testosterone and estrogen.

THE LAB TESTS

Progesterone produced by the ovarian follicle after ovulation (the corpus luteum) that organizes and vascularizes the lining of the uterus. It is also produced by the placenta during pregnancy. It is measured during the menstrual cycle or pregnancy to check for ovulation or to see if there are healthy levels.

17-hydroxyprogesterone is tested to see if a rare condition, congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). is present. Some forms of CAH have similar symptoms to the very common polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), such as infrequent periods and excess hair growth. Measuring 17-OHP helps distinguish between these two conditions.

THE MEDICATIONS

Both P and 17-OHP are manufactured in the injectable form to prevent pregnancy loss or preterm labor.

Progesterone is also prepared in oral, vaginal or transdermal forms to prevent miscarriage and treat gynecologic conditions such as abnormal bleeding, premenstrual syndrome or menopausal therapy.

Mary Davenport, MD, MS

Answered By:

Mary Davenport, MD, MS
Mary Davenport, MD, FACOG, an obstetrician/gynecologist from the Oakland Region of California, offers telehealth services over MyCatholicDoctor.com She graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine and completed her residency at UC San Diego. Dr. Davenport is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and serves on the Advisory Board of the California Association of Natural Family Planning.

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