Pregnanediol is an inactive product that forms when the body breaks down the hormone progesterone. A test can be done to measure the amount of pregnanediol in urine. The urine test offers an indirect way to measure progesterone levels in the body.
How the test is performed
How to prepare for the test
Your doctor may tell you to stop taking certain drugs that can affect the test. For example,
How the test will feel
The test involves only normal urination, and there is no discomfort.
Why the test is performed
Before progesterone blood tests were available, this test was used to monitor pregnancies and check for possible problems with the ovaries or adrenal cortex.
In women, progesterone is produced mainly after the ovaries release an egg (ovulation). The main function of progesterone is to help the uterus prepare for possible implantation of a fertilized egg. After fertilization, progesterone is necessary for the development of the placenta, the organ that develops to nourish the growing baby. During pregnancy, most progesterone is produced by the placenta.
Some progesterone is also produced by the adrenal cortex. See:
Currently there is little use for this test except in home ovulation predictor kits.
Review Date: 04/12/2009
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.