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    Scott Adams

    What is dermatitis herpetiformis? What does it have to do with celiac disease?

    Scott Adams
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is a severely itchy skin condition that often starts abruptly, affecting the elbows, knees, buttocks, scalp, and back. It usually starts as little bumps that can become tiny blisters and then are usually scratched off. DH can occur in only one spot, but more often appears in several areas.

    The condition is related to IgA deposits under the skin. These occur as a result of ingesting gluten. These deposits take a long time to clear up, even when the patient is on a gluten-free diet.

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    While most individuals with DH do not have obvious GI symptoms, almost all have some damage in their intestine. They have the potential for all of the nutritional complications of celiac disease. It is believed by some GI professionals that most DH patients do indeed have celiac disease.

    It is unusual to develop DH after a celiac patient starts a gluten-free diet. About 5% of celiac patients will develop DH, either before being diagnosed or within the first year on the diet. The fact that DH can develop even after starting the diet is probably due to the long lasting nature of the IgA deposits.

    For more information see the Dermatitis Herpetiformis page.


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  • About Me

    Scott Adams was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. In 1995 he launched the site that later became Celiac.com to help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives.  He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of the (formerly paper) newsletter Journal of Gluten Sensitivity. In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. Celiac.com does not sell any products, and is 100% advertiser supported.

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