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Celiac Makes Strange Bedfellows

Remember that Billy Joel song, "In the Middle of the Night?" I have had a very unwelcome night visitor many times in the past few years.  It is the typical dermatitis that goes hand in hand with Celiac disease, or better stated, "hand and nail," because the uncontrollable compulsion to rub and scratch cannot be contained.

Here is the sequence.  I awake from a sound sleep -
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conscious of a localized hot spot which is red and round and very visible. Quickly it becomes pimply and extremely itchy.  I try to get back to sleep but usually start scratching and wind up applying cortisone cream and taking compounded Benadryl (starch and gluten free). If I do scratch there are visible marks in the morning, but often there is no indication at all that the skin was so irritated.

Attempts to link this consistently with specific foods fails.

This is not the kind of night life you want to find but is is featured on a regular basis in The Celiac Nightclub. What I would give to cancel my membership!

As always, welcomes your comments (see below).

Spread The Word

5 Responses:

Yvonne Leigh

said this on
23 Feb 2008 10:37:24 AM PST
The Merc Manual states that the dermatitis associated with Celiac disease is due to the lack of zinc. I use a diaper cream with zinc added for a topical application and some added zinc in my diet choices. It comes as a result of ingesting gluten, but it may be in something you have put on you rather than in you. The skin is also a digestive organ. Good Luck, Yvonne

kelly wray

said this on
29 Feb 2008 3:54:39 PM PST
I have also experienced the same annoying discomfort at night, a local doctor recommended a vaginal yeast infection creme (on the problematic spots). It works pretty good, I will have to try the diaper creme as Yvonne suggested.


said this on
03 Mar 2008 12:18:01 PM PST
I have had the same red areas popping up over the years. (Not gluten free until a year ago, but stomach problems for 20 years) and have noted cortisone cream helps. I also have had finger and toe nails that loosen and become discolored and thick. A dermatologist said it is psoriasis. I also have a few dry scaly patches on my face that only cortisone keeps in check, never go away. Does this also sound like the dermatitis caused by celiac? I will try the baby diaper zinc cream.


said this on
04 Mar 2008 9:53:25 AM PST
I used to work in the pharmacy. The cortisone drug will take away the swelling, but truth be told if there is any type of dermatitis allergy or rash, Vicks has a small analgesic that might help, and is a common cure for problems of fungus or other issues for toe nails.

With the round itching rash, I found zinc is in fact an item Celiac digest VERY fast, as well as lysine. Both cause the body to heal faster and react more efficiently.
Good luck

Eeva Makkonen

said this on
25 Jun 2008 12:37:26 AM PST
Same symptoms! I'm very much helped by using Permethrin. In Finland the creme has name 'Nix'. Nothing else helps my symptoms like this creme.

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Hi, DH (dermatitis herpetiformis) is an itchy rash caused by celiac disease.You should keep eating gluten until all celiac testing is completed. Usually testing is a blood antibodies test first, followed by an endoscopy later.

If you only stopped 2 days ago no problem. Try and get a test arranged. if that can't happen, trial the diet and keep a journal tracking any response. I found that really helpful as some changes are subtle and gradual.

I don't see that stopping gluten would cause a rash for anyone. You might want to look at this site

ok so eating gluten tonight wouldnt really have an effect then but i wouldnt likely still have them in my system after just 2 days of gluten free anyway. Basically the sooner the better I have the test really to have best chances. On a seperate note - i have just seen that I have developed a...

I feel the same. Every so often, someone will roll their eyes. I try not to discuss it unless I have to, only because I don't love having the topic of conversation become me, but others seem genuinely curious. Every so often I have a pity party over not being able to just pick up a sandwich a...