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Could that rash and severe itch be from gluten?

Could that rash and severe itch be from gluten? Dr. Rudert is following over 1000 patients with Celiac Disease and many more with non Celiac gluten related disorders. Many patients Dr. Rudert has seen over the years have complained about a variety of skin problems that have taken years to diagnose and many with non Celiac gluten related disorders. One of many gluten related skin disorders is Dermatitis Herpetiformis

What is Dermatitis Herpetiformis?

Dr. Rudert answers:

Dermatitis Herpetiformis, or D.H., as it is more commonly referred to, is " Celiac Disease of the skin." The name comes from "herpes - like" because the rash may sometimes appear to be similar to herpes but it is not an infection; it is an autoimmune disease of the skin.

What is the connection of the rash to Celiac?

Dr. Rudert answers:

All patients with D.H. have Celiac, however. not all Celiacs have D.H. Since many rashes may have similar characteristics, it is often misdiagnosed. One of the main reasons it is wrongly diagnosed is that biopsies must be taken of the adjacent normal skin and sent for immunofluorescent testing. Usually skin biopsies are taken from the actual lesion, which if done with D.H., usually will lead to an incorrect diagnosis.

What does Dermatitis Herpetiformis look like?

Dr. Rudert answers:

Typically, (but not always), it is a bilateral rash associated with intense itching (pruritus) and small blisters that are usually scratched off before a doctor can evaluate them. The rash may be anywhere, however, is more common on the elbows, knees, buttocks and around the hair line. Anyone may be affected, but it is typically more likely to occur in men.

What is the treatment?

Dr. Rudert answers:

All patients should have a complete Celiac blood panel and if possible, be seen by a Celiac specialist. If the diagnosis is D.H., a gluten free diet is mandatory; the diet is not optional. The medication Dapsone may be initially indicated; however, patients should be warned about the side effects including hemolytic anemia that may be triggered by carbon monoxide exposure.

For more information, please contact our office.

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Dr. Cynthia Rudert

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