Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Dermatitis Herpetiformis. . . . Do you know what this is?  I didn’t until just before Thanksgiving when I went back to my Dr. . . again. . . for the millionth time(ok so maybe not that many but you get the idea) to try to find something that would relieve my eczema.  I’ve had really bad eczema since I was young, but it’s gotten worse in the past few years.  I attributed it to moving and this house having different allergens than our other house.  But it turns out that the allergen wasn’t in the house it was in me.

After talking to my Dr about my recent diet change and how it was making me feel better, have more energy, etc, he decided to take another look at my “eczema”.  It was then that he said that maybe what we were looking at wasn’t eczema but another kind of rash.  A rash that only occurs in people with Celiac.  This rash is called dermatitis herpetiformis. 

Dermatitis herpetiformis often occurs on the elbows, knees, buttocks, thighs, lower back, and back of the head.  It is always bilateral(on both sides of the body).  Mine has come out in different places over the years, but most recently I’m battling it on my elbows, hips, and thighs.  My son Colin seems to have a patch of it on his bottom.  This in itself is very uncommon as young children don’t normally develop this rash.  This is a very itchy, uncomfortable rash.  Nothing really works for the itch though I have read that some Dr’s have prescribed Dapsone to provide some relief.

I’m going to provide some links at the end of this post so if you want to look up dermatitis herpetiformis and learn more about it you can.  These are some of the ones that I used to learn about this condition.  There are pictures of it on these websites as well.  I did not feel like taking pictures of mine as they are itchy and painful and just look disgusting.

The diagnosis:  Celiac Disease.
The good news:  the rash will go away by following a gluten free diet
The bad news:  It can take from 6 months to a year for the rash to fully go away :(

Resource sites:
What is Dermatitis Herpetiformis?
PubMed Health article-Dermatitis Herpetiformis, Duhring’s Disease
wikipedia on Dermatitis Herpetiformis
Medscape Article-very informative!
about.com-the gluten rash

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One comment

  1. Deb Dorrington says:

    I only have heard of this because my friend was diagnosed with Dermatitis Herpetiformis 2 years ago. She has suffered through so many different medications without much success. She has Celiac Disease and is learning to live with everything that comes with it. Thank you for this post I’m sure it will help some people after reading it.

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