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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Autoimmune progesterone dermatitis

Other Names for this Disease
  • APD
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Your Question

Can someone please provide information or treating physicians for this disease? There is not a lot of information available and many doctors don't know what to do, so unfortunately they do nothing. I need help. I am tired of suffering.

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is autoimmune progesterone dermatitis?

Autoimmune progesterone dermatitis (APD) is a rare condition characterized by a cyclic skin rash which develops premenstrually in women. The condition usually occurs in adulthood after the start of periods (menarche), and rarely during pregnancy or postmenopause.[1] Signs and symptoms vary among affected individuals; skin findings that have been reported include hives, erythema multiforme, papulovesicles (an eczema-like rash), annular erythema, angiodema, mouth erosions and pruritus (itching).[1][2] The rash typically begins a few days before menses and subsides around the time menstruation begins, recurring at the next cycle.[2] The exact cause is unknown, but is thought to involve a hypersensitivity reaction to a woman's own progesterone.[3] Depending on the severity, treatment may include topical medications, systemic corticosteroids, hormone therapy to inhibit the production of progesterone, or surgical removal of the ovaries.[2]
Last updated: 1/9/2012

How might autoimmune progesterone dermatitis be treated?

Evidence has shown that there are various possible treatments for autoimmune progesterone dermatitis (APD), depending on the symptoms and level of progesterone sensitivity that an affected woman has.[3] Mild skin problems may improve with topical steroids for eczema, or oral antihistamines for urticaria, for example. However, the condition is sometimes resistent to this type of therapy. More severe skin problems may require treatment with systemic corticosteroids.[2] Definitive treatment of APD involves agents that keep a woman from ovulating, thus suppressing the secretion of progesterone within the body.[3] This may be accomplished with hormone-based therapy, which may involve the use of estrogen, estradiol, tamoxifen, and/or danazol. Medications containing any progesterone (such as oral contraceptives) should be avoided.[2] In individuals for whom these treatments are ineffective, surgical removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy) has been shown to cure the condition.[2] In a few cases, the condition resolves on its own without treatment or during pregnancy.[1]
Last updated: 1/9/2012

How can I find a physician who has knowledge about autoimmune progesterone dermatitis?

Physicians that may have knowledge about autoimmune progesterone dermatitis (APD) may specialize in a number of different fields including dermatology, allergy, immunology, reproductive endocrinology, or obstetrics and gynecology. We are unable to locate a physician directory specific to the treatment of APD, but the following physician directories may be helpful in finding a specialist:

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAI) has a "Find An Allergist / Immunologist" section on its Web site. Click on the link to access this directory.
The Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI) has a "Find an SREI Member" section on its Web site for patients looking for a reproductive endocrinologist. Click on the above link to access this directory.
The American Academy of Dermatology has a "Find a Dermatologist" section on its Web site. Click on the link to access this page.

For additional information about how to find an expert for a particular condition, see the question below.
Last updated: 1/9/2012

How can I find an expert who has knowledge and experience regarding a specific condition?

Although there is no list of experts for rare diseases, a fact sheet is available on our Web site with tips for finding healthcare professionals and researchers who have experience with a particular condition. Potential resources include patient advocacy groups, researchers conducting clinical trials, and authors of articles published in medical journals. Click here to view our fact sheet. If you are unable to locate an expert using these suggestions, please let us know.
Last updated: 9/29/2014

Other Names for this Disease
  • APD
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.