Progesterone In Oil (PIO)

Definition - What does Progesterone In Oil (PIO) mean?

Progesterone in oil (PIO) is an injectable form of the hormone progesterone that is sometimes used as part of assisted reproductive technology (ART) like in vitro fertilization (IVF), in the induction of ovulation, or to help resume normal menstrual periods that have been ceased for several months (amenorrhea). PIO may also benefit a condition called luteal phase defect that compromises fertility due to the insufficient progesterone exposure interfering with the normal embryo (or fertilized egg) implantation.

FertilitySmarts explains Progesterone In Oil (PIO)

PIO is a pregnancy hormone that helps to prepare the inner lining of the uterus for implantation of an embryo. Therefore, it may be used as a component of the process of IVF.

Although progesterone in oil formulation raises the serum progesterone concentrations at a relatively higher rate (unlike the vaginal route), there has been a shift in the use of progesterone from the oil preparations to suppositories. This is because PIO injections are very painful, inconvenient, and can cause irritation of tissues, infections and occasionally even more serious complications related to the lungs.

Moreover, despite being a progesterone preparation, the injectable formulations carry a higher risk of pregnancy loss when compared to the vaginal suppositories. This is probably due to the higher circulating progesterone levels in the blood achieved with the injections but lower progesterone concentrations in the inner lining of the uterus. On the contrary, the vaginally administered route yields lower serum levels of progesterone but higher progesterone concentrations in the inner lining of the uterus. This effect of the vaginal route highly promotes the attachment of the fertilized egg to the uterine lining. Same holds true for the pregnancy rates achieved with the injectable versus the vaginal routes.

Whether used for pregnancy preparation or for regulating the menstrual cycle in a non-pregnant woman, PIO can either be injected by the doctor or by the patient herself (as taught by the doctor).

Following are the steps of using a PIO vial.

  1. First wash your hands thoroughly
  2. Draw up the progesterone from the vial into the syringe, recap it, and place it in warm water to make the contents thinner
  3. Choose the site to inject the shot. This can be either in the muscles of the arms, thighs or buttocks
  4. Cleanse the area with an alcohol swab
  5. Aspirate quickly and then insert the needle into the skin
  6. Withdraw the needle immediately and press the injection site with a spirit swab for a few seconds

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

Of note, the medication cannot be used in women who have a history of vaginal bleeding of unknown cause, a loss of pregnancy with some parts remaining in the uterus (missed abortion), blood clots, liver disease, or cancers of the breast or other female organs.

Share this: