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Dermatitis Herpetiformis: 15-25% of People With Celiac Disease Are Also Affected by it

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According to the Celiac Disease Foundation Dermatitis herpetiformis is a skin manifestation of celiac disease.

The symptoms are very itchy blisters that appear all over the body, most often on the forearms near the elbows, as well as on knees and buttocks.

There are a couple of temporary treatments, but really the only way to control it is to follow a strict gluten free diet.

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“What is Dermatitis Herpetiformis?

itchingDermatitis Herpetiformis bumps and blisters resemble herpes lesions, hence the name “herpetiformis”, but are NOT caused by the herpes virus.  Symptoms of DH tend to come and go, and it is commonly diagnosed as eczema.  Symptoms normally resolve when on a strict, gluten-free diet.

DH can affect people of all ages, but most often appears for the first time in those between the ages of 30 and 40.  People of northern European descent are more likely than those of African or Asian heritage to develop DH.  The condition is somewhat more common in men than women.  And men are more likely to have atypical oral or genital lesions.

 

Diagnosing DH With Skin Biopsy and Blood Tests

image: https://celiac.org

skin biopsy

A skin biopsy is used to confirm a diagnosis of DH.  Dermatologists usually use what’s called a “punch biopsy” to remove the skin and test it for dermatitis herpetiformis. After injecting a local anesthetic, your dermatologist will use a tiny, cookie-cutter-like punch to remove a 4mm sample of skin. The incision can be closed with one stitch and generally heals with very little scarring.

It is important to have your dermatitis herpetiformis skin biopsy performed by someone who has diagnosed the skin condition before and knows how to do the biopsy.

Blood tests for other antibodies commonly found in people with celiac disease—antiendomysial and anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies—supplement the diagnostic process.


Treatment for DH With Dapsone and the Gluten-Free Diet

If you are diagnosed with dermatitis herpetiformis, your dermatologist may prescribe dapsone for short-term relief from the itching.  According to Dr. Zone, the rash responds dramatically to dapsone, usually in 48 to 72 hours.  People who can’t tolerate dapsone may be given sulfapyridine or sulfamethoxypyridazine instead, although these drugs are less effective.

However, you’ll still need to follow a strict gluten-free diet to control your dermatitis herpetiformis. Even with a gluten-free diet, dapsone or sulfapyridine therapy may need to be continued for 1–2 years to prevent further DH outbreaks. In some cases, a diet high in iodine may worsen DH symptoms. If you are experiencing DH flareups, you should consult with a dermatologist expert in celiac disease, to determine if foods or medicines high in iodine are the cause.”

 


Disclaimer: We are not doctors and this information is not intended to cure or diagnosed any celiac disease symptom, you should always consult a specialist.

Original Source: The Celiac Disease Foundation

Original Article Link:
https://celiac.org

Pictures Original Source: The Celiac Disease Foundation and Wikipedia

Featured Image: Author: “Dermatitis-herpetiformis2” by Madhero88 – http://www.dermnet.com/Dermatitis-Herpetiformis/picture/13624. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dermatitis-herpetiformis2.jpg#/media/File:Dermatitis-herpetiformis2.jpg. Modified by the Gluten Free Times.

 

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