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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 PDT
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 PDT
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 PDT
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 PDT
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 PDT
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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