Progesterone pessaries are small medical devices that are placed inside of the vagina or rectum to release a hormone known as progesterone into a woman’s body. Progesterone is a type of hormone that works to ready the uterus for pregnancy. They are used in some women who are undergoing infertility treatments to help ensure that their uterus is prepared to become pregnant and to help sustain a possible pregnancy. They have also been used to alleviate premenstrual syndrome symptoms and postpartum depression.
Generally, progesterone pessaries are made for self-insertion. A woman will receive a package of inserts that she will administer several times daily, depending upon her prescribed daily dosage. Upon insertion, the pessaries dissolve and the progesterone comes into contact with blood vessels. The blood vessels absorb the hormone and it enters the woman’s blood. After being absorbed into the blood, the body utilizes the progesterone in the same manner as it would if it were manufactured naturally.
Women with low-levels of progesterone often have difficulty getting pregnant and maintaining the pregnancy. This is because progesterone prepares the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, to accept a fertilized egg in the event of pregnancy. The role of progesterone continues throughout pregnancy as it prevents the uterus from shedding it’s lining and ending the pregnancy. Progesterone pessaries can be used in these women prior to and during pregnancy to ensure a healthy progression.
These devices have also been used to treat symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. Although the reasons for this relationship are not fully understood, some researchers have found that low levels of progesterone during a woman’s premenstrual cycle leads to a group of symptoms commonly referred to as premenstrual syndrome. These include weight gain, headaches, mood swings, fatigue, backaches and general body aches. Many doctors have found a high rate of success treating symptoms of premenstrual syndrome with progesterone pessaries.
Many women suffer from postpartum depression, which is depression that occurs after delivering a baby. Some doctors believe that the sudden drop in progesterone levels that occurs in a woman’s body after she gives birth causes postpartum depression. A woman can use progesterone pessaries after delivery to help taper off dropping progesterone levels and alleviate postpartum.
There are several side effects that are possible from the use of progesterone pessaries. In some cases, women experience a change in menstrual cycle or increased vaginal or rectal discharge. Other possible side effects include irritation where insertion occurs, abdominal bloating and cramping, increased blood pressure, nervousness, and hot flashes.