• Monday May 25,2020


A progestin is a so-called yellow body hormone. In addition to the estrogens, gestagens belong to the female sex hormones, they are so-called steroid hormones.

What is progestin?

Progestogens are so-called steroids whose basic structure is pregnane. Progesterone, pregnandiol and pregnenolone are the most important representatives of progestogens.

The natural gestagen is a corpus luteum hormone that is formed by the female body itself. In addition, there are synthetic progestins, which are also referred to as progestagens or progestins.

Progesterone is a kind of chemical derivative of the body's own hormone progesterone, which regulates ovulation and prepares the lining of the uterus for the implantation of an egg.

Medical & Health Functions, Tasks & Meanings

Progestins are usually used to prevent pregnancies. Usually they are used here as a combination with an estrogen. These include, for example, dienogest, lynestrenol or even norethisterone.

Progestin can also be used to prevent pregnancy. However, the individual substances allow only a small control of the monthly cycle and thus are not as safe in their safety as the combination with estrogens. The progestagens that can be used alone include desogestrel and levonorgestrel. Furthermore, medroxyprogesterone acetate and etonogestrel belong to the progestogens which can be used alone. Desogestrel and levornogestrel are often used as minipill. Due to the mini-pill, the hormonal burden on women is lower, so it is recommended especially breastfeeding mothers.

The effect of this mini-pill is generally short-lived, which is why daily intake at the same time as possible is particularly important. Medroxyprogesterone is administered in the form of a depot syringe. This is injected into the muscles and forms a depot from which the active ingredient is released into the blood over a period of several weeks or even months. Implants with etonogestrel and intrauterine pessaries with levornogestrel are also suitable for long-term prevention. Levornogestrel is known in high-dose form as a so-called "pill afterwards", with which a pregnancy can be prevented.

However, this is not referred to as a contraceptive, but rather as a type of emergency medication consisting of two tablets, which must be taken either simultaneously or at intervals of 12 hours. The intake must be taken within 72 hours, better still within 12 to 24 hours after the sexual intercourse, so that an effect is achieved.


The mode of action of chemical gestagens is modeled on that of the natural progestin progesterone. In addition to the estrogens, progesterone is one of the female sex hormones. It is formed in rhythmically varying amounts in the ovaries, with the effects of estrogens and progesterone intertwining. The estrogen causes the lining of the uterus to grow, and the progesterone then prepares it to embed the fertilized egg. As soon as an egg is formed in the ovaries and released by the action of the estrogen, the progesterone contributes to preventing further ovulation and further maturation of the egg and thus a twin pregnancy.

After successful fertilization, the progesterone takes on the task of solidifying the vaginal mucus and cervical mucus so that no more sperm reach the uterus. In addition, after implantation, it ensures that the pregnancy is maintained. If neither fertilization nor pregnancy has occurred, the progesterone value decreases again. It comes to a so-called withdrawal bleeding, in which the built up tissue of the uterine lining is repelled.

The chemical gestagens are usually used to prevent pregnancy, so that the mode of action here is slightly different. Progesterone mimics, in principle, the effects of progesterone. They prevent the maturation of the egg, they solidify the cervical mucus and the vaginal mucus and suppress some of the ovulation.


Gestagens taken as a single agent are applied continuously. A break of one week does not exist and thus eliminates the regular withdrawal bleeding.

The usual pattern of bleeding changes - either the bleeding is irregular or disappears completely. In almost every woman, the bleeding diminishes after a few months of use and is very rare. If progestins are used as a "pill afterwards", they inhibit ovulation and thus the fertilization of a mature egg cell.

In addition, they prevent the implantation of a fertilized ice into the uterus. However, if the ovum has already established itself, then the "pill afterwards" is not suitable for a termination of pregnancy.

Diseases, complaints & disorders

If progestins are taken in combination with estrogens, they have a cancer-inhibiting effect on menopausal complaints. Since estrogens promote the development of the lining of the uterus, which can lead to the development of cancer cells under certain circumstances, progestagens are added, so that a withdrawal bleeding occurs, in which the uterine lining is repelled.

Combining progestins consistently leads to an underdeveloped uterine lining in the long run and thus to a low risk of cancer. If a woman has endometriosis, progestagens can help break down the lining of the womb. This way, complaints of inflammation and bleeding can be prevented. Progestins can generally fulfill the tasks of natural progesterone.

Often it comes due to a progesterone deficiency to rule disturbances, which can often result in an unwanted abortion. Here progestins are used to compensate for the lack of progesterone. Furthermore, there is a presumption that progestagens can act against cancer cells that form estrogen receptors. However, the effect on the growth of cancer cells is not fully understood.

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