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Progesterone In Oil Medically Reviewed

Last Updated: April 8, 2020

Definition - What does Progesterone In Oil mean?

Progesterone in oil (PIO) is an injectable form of the hormone progesterone that is sometimes used as part of the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) as a woman is preparing for an embryo transfer.

FertilitySmarts explains Progesterone In Oil

Progesterone is a primary pregnancy hormone that helps to prepare a plush inner lining of the uterus required for implantation of an embryo. PIO is an injectable form of progesterone combined with oil to allow the body to absorb it easier.

Injections vs. Suppositories

PIO formulation raises the serum progesterone concentrations at a relatively higher rate compared to the vaginal route which usually yields lower serum levels of progesterone but higher progesterone concentrations in the inner lining of the uterus.

Because PIO injections are very viscose, a larger gauge needle is used which can be painful, and can cause bruising and skin irritation. The type of progesterone used by your reproductive endocrinologist may vary depending on whether you are having a fresh or frozen embryo transfer and whether you are doing a natural or synthetic cycle.

PIO Shot Steps

PIO can either be injected by the patient themselves or by a helper, which may be easier. The steps of using a PIO vial often look like:

  1. Follow all directions as provided by your doctor
  2. First, wash your hands thoroughly
  3. Draw up the progesterone from the vial into the syringe, recap it, and place it in warm water to make the contents thinner
  4. Choose the site to inject the shot, typically the upper, outer quadrant of the buttocks
  5. Cleanse the area with an alcohol swab
  6. Aspirate quickly and then insert the needle into the skin
  7. Withdraw the needle immediately and press the injection site with a spirit swab for a few seconds
  8. A warm compress may help with any discomfort

Other than the side effects mentioned above, PIO injections can cause headaches, nausea, increased body/facial hair, and weight gain/loss.

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