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    How Common is Dermatitis Herpetiformis in Celiac Disease Patients?

    Jefferson Adams
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      One positive finding is that Dermatitis herpetiformis patients who are on a gluten-free diet face an excellent long-term outlook, with an even lower mortality rate than the general population.

    Image: Photobucket--janerane
    Caption: Image: Photobucket--janerane

    Celiac.com 11/07/2018 - A team of researchers recently set out to explore the relationship between dermatitis herpetiformis, as a common extraintestinal manifestation of celiac disease, and a gluten-free diet as a path to overall dermatitis herpetiformis improvement.

    The research team included Timo Reunala, Teea T. Salmi, Kaisa Hervonen, Katri Kaukinen and Pekka Collin. They are variously affiliated with the Celiac Disease Research Center, Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences at the University of Tampere, the Department of Dermatology, Tampere University Hospital, the Department of Internal Medicine, Tampere University Hospital, and with the Department of Gastroenterology and Alimentary Tract Surgery, Tampere University Hospital in Tampere, Finland.

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    Dermatitis herpetiformis is a condition marked by itchy papules and vesicles on the elbows, knees, and buttocks. Dermatitis herpetiformis is a common in people with celiac disease.

    People who have just dermatitis herpetiformis alone rarely have obvious gastrointestinal symptoms. Dermatitis herpetiformis is easily diagnosed by immunofluorescence biopsy showing pathognomonic granular immunoglobulin A (IgA) deposits in the papillary dermis. 

    One theory currently in play is that dermatitis herpetiformis is triggered by celiac disease in the gut and eventually develops into an immune complex deposition of high avidity IgA epidermal transglutaminase (TG3) antibodies, together with the TG3 enzyme, in the papillary dermis. 

    The age at which people are diagnosed with dermatitis herpetiformis has risen steeply in recent decades to the current average of 40–50 years. 

    The researchers found that the ratio of dermatitis herpetiformis to celiac disease is 1:8 in Finland and the United Kingdom (U.K.). Additionally, the incident rates of dermatitis herpetiformis are currently 2.7 per 100,000 in Finland and 0.8 per 100,000 in the U.K., is decreasing, whereas incidents of celiac disease are on the rise. 

    One positive finding is that Dermatitis herpetiformis patients who are on a gluten-free diet face an excellent long-term outlook, with an even lower mortality rate than the general population.

    Read more in: Nutrients 2018, 10(5), 602; doi:10.3390/nu10050602


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    My gut is as good as ever.eating well.no weight gain though..rash always causes edema.that is a problem. Skin gets tight on feet and calves. Stretches the skin rash and thats real pain and very depressing. Usually all goes away in five days if im careful.. Perhaps its ginger tea looking after gut? 3+ mugs a day. Love it...

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    On 11/7/2018 at 3:38 PM, mmcauntie said:

    I had DH for about 7 years before someone figured out it was related to celiac disease. Currently have it on both elbows and scalp. Thank God I have thick dark hair! Disgusting.

    I, too, had DH for many years before I was diagnosed with Celiac and then it was another 7 years before I figured out the itchy blisters on my scalp were not ingrown hairs, but DH. I had to change all of my topicals; shampoo and conditioner because they had ingredients that were causing the problem and also I found that Iodine greatly compounded the problem from just my scalp to my back, arms and chest. Here is a list of some of the ingredients;

    Avena sativa (oats)

    Beta glucan (frequently derived from wheat)

    Colloidal oatmeal

    Dextrin palmitate (starch, possibly gluten-based)

    Vitamin E (frequently derived from wheat)

    Hordeum vulgare (barley)

    Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (may contain wheat)

    Hydrolyzed wheat protein

    Laurdimonium hydroxypropyl (hydrolyzed wheat protein)

    Malt extract (usually barley)

    Secale cereale (rye)

    Stearyl dimonium hydroxypropyl (hydrolyzed wheat protein)

    Triticum vulgare (wheat)

    Vegetable protein (may contain wheat, barley, rye and/or oats)

    Wheat germ oil

    I am now grain free and things are much better. But, being in a household of 7, with 2 of us being Celiac does have its challenges.

    Edited by CATRYNA

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    I have celiac and dh have been gluten-free since 2008. Also celiac is on both sides of my family.  I had horrible dh all my life...I remember being 3 and eating white bread and breaking out. I'm 47 now. It wasn't until I went totally gluten-free with all my personal care products that I beat DH. I know people say if you don't eat it that it doesn't matter but I totally use gluten free shampoo conditioner makeup lotion soap...everything....no more DH

    Hope that helps

    My dad had bad DH too and did the same thing

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    On this issue, statistics are mostly meaningless to me.  I've coded this diagnosis for dozens of children since the 2000's.  In an attempt to feed the nations thru grain hybridization, the end result has been human pain and injured lives.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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