Progesterone is a female sex hormone. It is produced during pregnancy and also during the menstrual cycle. Progesterone in oil injections are given to women undergoing in-vitro fertilization. It is also helpful for women with absent menstrual periods or abnormal menstrual bleeding. The kinds of oil used are sesame, cottonseed, peanut, olive, and ethyl oleate.
Progesterone in oil is given as an intramuscular injection in the upper buttocks, near the hip. Pain at the injection site is common. The different oils used in the injections differ in amount of pain caused. Allergic reaction is possible to sesame and peanut oil. If this occurs, cottonseed, olive, or ethyl oleate oils are used instead.
Sesame oil is the most common oil used in progesterone injections. It is thinner than peanut oil, and less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Peanut oil is also common, though allergic reactions are more likely and can be severe. Warming the oil before injection will help it flow more smoothly into the muscle and will avoid lump formation at the injection site. Using heat, rather than ice, for pain control will help prevent lumps and allow the drug to properly disperse.
There are three other oil available to use in progesterone injections if the patient is allergic to both sesame and peanut oils. Cottonseed oil is less likely to cause injection site pain. In the rare cases that conttonseed oil causes an allergic reaction, olive oil or ethyl oleate is used. Ethyl oleate is the thinnest oil available. Because of this, a smaller needle can be used, and it does not cause lumps at the injection site.
Progesterone is given to women undergoing IVF because it is thought to help prepare the body for pregnancy. It is continued for the first ten to twelve weeks of pregnancy to reduce the risk of miscarriage. Progesterone in oil and progesterone suppositories are the most common forms prescribed. Research does not show a clear benefit of one over the other, although doctors usually have a preference.
Women with amenorrhea, or absent periods, are at an increased risk of endometrial cancer. To minimize the risk of endometrial cancer in patients with amenorrhea, medical professionals prefer to induce a menstrual period at least once every three months. Injections of progesterone in oil are most commonly used, although other forms of period inducement are also effective.
Irregular menstrual bleeding is also treated with progesterone. An injection of progesterone in oil is given once a day for six days. Bleeding usually stops by the sixth day.