Autoimmune progesterone dermatitis

What causes autoimmune progesterone dermatitis?

The exact underlying cause of autoimmune progesterone dermatitis is not completely understood. Most scientists believe that the cyclic rash occurs when an abnormal immune reaction (autoimmune response) is triggered by rising levels of the hormone, progesterone. A second proposed theory speculates that high levels of progesterone may lead to a heightened response to another allergen.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How is autoimmune progesterone dermatitis diagnosed?

The diagnosis of APD is typically made based on clinical history (including timing of symptoms around the menstrual cycle) and evidence of a skin reaction to progesterone. In most cases, progesterone is introduced by a skin prick or needle injection into either the skin (intradermal) or muscle (intramuscular). Testing is considered positive when a skin reaction called a 'wheal-and-flare' develops and persists within a 24-48 hour period.

Other diagnostic studies described in the medical literature include: eosinophil count, quantitative measurements of immunoglobulin and complement as well as analysis of hormonal factors including luteinizing hormone, progesterone, and estradiol.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How might autoimmune progesterone dermatitis be treated?

The treatment or control of symptoms of autoimmune progesterone dermatitis (APD) varies. Mild cases might be successfully managed with use of antihistamines and/or corticosteroids.

Most methods of treatment focus on temporarily suppressing ovulation. This might be achieved through varying medications including: conjugated estrogen, ethinyl estradiol, tamoxifen, and danazol. Gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists have additionally had reported success in the literature; however as these medications can prompt symptoms of menopause, they might not be recommended for pre-menopausal patients. Progesterone desensitization, in which increasing doses of progesterone are administered via vaginal suppository, has been reported as a successful treatment in one case in the literature.

For severe cases in which the above treatment options are not successful, surgical removal of ovaries or oophorectomy is curative.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Name: Hormone Health Network United States Toll Free: 1-800-HORMONE (1-800-467-6663) Email: Url:
Name: American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) 22100 Gratiot Avenue
Eastpointe, MI, 48021, United States
Phone: 586-776-3900 Toll Free: 800-598-4668 Fax : 586-776-3903 Email: Url:

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The RareGuru disease database is regularly updated using data generously provided by GARD, the United States Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center.

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