I measure my progesterone every day because plotting its levels across my menstrual cycle will reveal cool things about my body, such as when I ovulate and also how long the luteal phase of my cycle will last.
But I have never seen a daily graph of my progesterone before! What does progesterone low and progesterone high mean? I am confused.
OK, let's unpack it.
The first part of my cycle
The first part of my cycle, which is from the first day I bleed up until ovulation, my progesterone is consistently low. This is called my follicular phase.
But how low is low?
Well, low progesterone differs for each menstrual cycle and this is why the inne system builds a 'baseline' for each of my cycles.
A base - what?
A baseline. That means that every measurement I take at the beginning of my cycle is helping the inne system build a baseline. Once a baseline is built, I will be able to see rising progesterone, which marks my ovulation.
So it is totally normal that my graph bars do not all look the same at the beginning of my cycle?
Absolutely! My progesterone varies slightly from day to day, but it is still representing the follicular part of my cycle. The inne system is still busy building a baseline, this is why my graph says 'progesterone is low'. If I swipe up the graph drawer I will get a more individualised message on each day of my cycle.
But I see a very high bar in my follicular phase and the inne app still says my progesterone is low? Is this normal?
Totally normal, spikes do happen very often in the follicular phase of cycles and the inne system takes them into account when calculating a baseline.
Ovulatory Phase of my cycle
OK, now a very interesting part of the cycle is coming, I am going into ovulation.
Once I have established a baseline for my progesterone in the follicular phase of my cycle, the inne system is now looking for a progesterone rise to mark my ovulation. This is also called the ovulatory phase of my cycle.
I know that I am entering my ovulatory phase because the bars in my inne graph are now orange and my progesterone is marked as high.
Biologically, my progesterone will keep rising and will remain high during the last part of my cycle known as luteal phase. There will be slight daily variations but overall my progesterone bars will be rising during ovulation and will remain high during the luteal phase, definitely higher than the follicular phase.
The last part of my cycle
What happens after my ovulation and before the start of my next cycle?
Well, progesterone remains high after ovulation. Higher than the follicular phase progesterone and again with minimal daily variations - these are normal. My progesterone will 'peak' at some point during my luteal phase. If I have not had sex during my fertile window and no conception has happened then progesterone will typically start falling, reaching levels similar to those in my follicular phase and the inne app will mark them as 'progesterone low'.
But I see a very low bar in my luteal phase and the inne app still says my progesterone is high? Is this normal?
Totally normal, dips do happen in the luteal phase of cycles and the inne system takes them into account.
What Happens if I get a positive pregnancy test?
If I am trying to get pregnant and conception has happened then progesterone will remain high pretty much throughout my pregnancy.
If I get a positive pregnancy test and log it in the inne app, the inne algorithm will not predict my next menstrual cycle and fertile days until I have logged a new cycle by selecting a 'Bleeding' Fluid.