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Progesterone Hypersensitivity

Progesterone hypersensitivity is an allergic reaction to an elevated progesterone level in women during a menstrual cycle or after exposure to progestin, a synthetic form of progesterone, found in many types of contraceptives. A recurrent skin rash is one of the most common symptoms.

For women affected by the rise of endogenous progesterone, first signs usually appear 3 to 5 days before the menstrual cycle and resolve 2 to 3 days after the onset of menstruation. For women reacting to progestin in contraceptives or fertility treatments, the symptoms develop upon exposure.

Progesterone is a female natural hormone that regulates menstruation, supports pregnancy and lactation.

During the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, the time between ovulation and the onset of menstruation, ovaries release progesterone to prepare the uterus for a possible pregnancy by thickening its linings. If pregnancy occurs, progesterone remains elevated until labor begins. If a woman doesn’t get pregnant, a period follows.

PH can happen as a result of the progesterone surge during regular menstruation or pregnancy or due to exposure to synthetic progesterone (progestin) found in oral contraceptive pills, contraceptive vaginal rings, intrauterine devices, and fertility treatments.

Even though any woman of reproductive age can be affected, women in their late 20s seem to be at higher risk. Progesterone hypersensitivity reactions vary from woman to woman.

The most common symptoms include itchy skin rash, dermatitis, urticaria (hives), and angioedema. Some patients can experience bronchospasm, hypotension, asthma symptoms and in severe cases, anaphylaxis.

PN treatment varies widely and often depends on whether a woman is planning to conceive soon or has done having kids. Options include antiallergic medications, oral contraceptives, and progesterone desensitization therapies.

If you suspect you have progesterone hypersensitivity, talk to your OB/GYN who may refer you to an allergist.

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