Progestogen Hypersensitivity (PH) is caused by increased sensitivity to either or exogenous or endogenous progestogens. It is characterized by recurrent cutaneous eruptions including erythema multiforme, eczema, urticaria, and angioedema, which may be associated with systemic symptoms including asthma and anaphylaxis.
Symptoms may be persistent or cyclical, coinciding with progestogen levels. With increased use of oral contraceptives and hormonal treatments for fertility, the prevalence of PH is expected to continuously increase. Several proposed immunological mechanisms, diagnostic, and treatment modalities have been proposed. Most treatments focus on suppressing ovulation and progesterone secretion or inducing tolerance through progesterone desensitization.
Although there has been increased recognition both clinically and in the medical literature, there is still a general lack of knowledge of PH and its clinical features in the medical community. An improved understanding of the underlying pathophysiology as well as more available commercial testing such as an ELISA that accurately measures specific IgE to progesterone are expected to broaden and improve opportunities for disease recognition and symptom control. It is essential for physicians across specialties to recognize how to diagnose PH and either manage or refer these patients to a specialist with experience treating PH.