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samuella

Celiac Or Wheat Allergy?

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I'm waiting for my results from a blood test for celiac and a skin biopsy for DH. My main new symptoms that prompted these tests were blisters/rash on my face, neck, and elbows, but this has mostly cleared up now - just a few left. It was mostly constant for about two months. The dermatologist immediately thought of DH. I've had digestive issues for years - diagnosed with IBS about 10 years ago.

Yesterday I developed hives and what looked like little insect bites on my forearms, both of them, that went away after a couple of hours. It was shortly after I'd eaten wheat, but also after I'd done the dishes - and the dermatologist said if it wasn't DH his bet would be on good ole contact dermatitis, so I thought the dish detergent could be at fault. However, today I developed another rash in the same spots shortly after eating wheat - and I haven't done any dishes today! :) I also notice, though may be making this up in my head, that my hands sometimes get itchy after I've handled flour when baking.

All the skin issues popped up shortly after giving birth about four months ago. My little guy hasn't been gaining weight well - he's very, very small, but strong and healthy otherwise. Now that I'm suspicious of wheat or gluten for myself I'm suspicious of it for him as well.

I have a doc appointment tomorrow where I should get the blood test results, but the DH results will be another few weeks. I'm thinking of asking for an allergy test for wheat.

I guess my question is, are the quick skin reactions I may be having recently more likely a sign of celiac or a wheat allergy? And would either possibly cause slow weight gain in a breastfed baby?

Thanks so much! :)

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To add to this, I've have wheat five times in the last 24 hours - the first three times the rash appeared, but the last two times it didn't. Does that mean the first three times was just a coincidence? This is so confusing! :(

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Hello and welcome to the board.

I would put my money on gluten intolerance rather than a wheat allergy. Dermatologists are generally very slow to suspect DH so the fact that she tested you for it right away is a good sign, provided she took the biopsy adjacent to the lesion, and not of the lesion itself, because the antibodies will be in the adjacent tissue. Combine a DH-appearing rash with GI symptoms and you are likely looking at intolerance if not outright celiac (and a diagnosis of DH is a diagnosis of celiac, by the way).

Yes, your son's failure to thrive could also be an indication of celiac disease - this is one of the more common signs in small children.

Let us know the outcome of your testing. If you are positive you should definitely have your son tested (maybe even if you are not :P )

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Thanks for the welcome!

A wheat allergy never really occurred to me until the hives, which I thought was more of an allergic reaction than an intolerance? That doesn't sound like DH, does it? But I don't get it every time I eat wheat either, so that doesn't sound allergic? Maybe it was just a coincidence?

Not sure where the derm took the biopsy from, but since he immediately thought of DH hopefully that means he knows what he's doing! Though we aren't entirely sure that the lesion was a DH one since the rash had pretty much cleared up by that time and we were kind of scrambling for something to biopsy. Of course now it seems to be coming back! Aaargh!

Will keep you posted, thanks!

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I have a rather spectacular contact reaction to a certain kind of grass hay. (of course, this is one of the only kinds of grass hay that our horse with allergies can eat. :rolleyes: ) I wear long sleeves (obviously) when I handle it. Then I take off the overshirt or jacket, and wash my hands. If for some reason I've bare armed it, I immediately try to head for the water spigot and rinse off. This is why I don't let the big house dog sneak into the hay storage area because he'll lie down in it, roll around, and then if I pet him, I end up getting blotched up pretty quick. What I have noticed is, that if I start to fell itchy, and see the tell - tale redness coming up on my arm, that if I very quickly go and wash it off thoroughly, it stops. It will then fade out within the hour. DH will not stop and go away if you just wash your rash.

If I accidentally eat wheat, I'm going to get brain fuzzed and groggy. I may also start having some balance problems and problems concentrating. But I won't blotch. In the past, I had severe ataxia and coordination problems, enough that it was repeatedly mistaken for "likely MS."

That's the difference between a contact exposure allergy and an auto immune reaction. BUT, I have also noticed that when I was consuming wheat products in the past, I tended to be more hyper responsive to other sorts of things which I was already allergic to. I have had many, many reactions to various cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, detergents, etc, and this is a family trait. You could have both types of situations occurring together.

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Well, I'm just back from my GP and my blood test was positive for celiac. She said a false positive is unlikely, given that the test is pretty accurate, I've had "IBS" for years, and a rash the derm immediately thought was DH. My test result was over 100 and over 12 was positive, I think it was - sorry don't have all the details, crying baby was with me! She also thinks my son's slow weight gain is related and so neither of us want to wait months for a scope - I'm going off gluten now and hopefully it will help him.

I feel a little like someone just sucker punched me. I really, really like wheat. :(

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Oh Samuella, honey, I'm so sorry. I know it can be a hard diagnosis to take, and it is perfectly okay on here to rant a little and grieve the loss of the foods you can no longer eat. And it will be a grieving process for a while. But you also have to think how much better you are going to feel when you are not eating them, and no more itching - although it does take the DH a while to calm down. That was a very high "IBS" score :lol: which is the kind of diagnosis we tend to scorn as being the lazy way to deal with our symptoms. Many of us have suffered for years with so-called IBS.

As for the hives, they may or may not be related to gluten. Many of us have other foods that give us problems, but we usually don't find out about them until we quit eating the gluten. I had several foods that gave me hives. I hope for you it is just the gluten :)

Do you feel comfortable about how to start going gluten free? There is lots of good information here on the forum about how to get rid of the gluten. Do you have a partner who will go gluten free with you? It will make it a lot easier on you and your son if he eats gluten only outside the house. The hardest thing about being gluten free is preventing cross-contamination.

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Thanks mushroom for your support! My head is spinning but I am relieved to know so I can do something about it, and hopefully it'll help my son as well. I've just posted in the Coping With section with some questions. So many flying around my brain at the moment! I can see there's heaps of info here to help though, and a lot of people willing to share their expertise! It'll be OK, I'm sure. I think I can get my head around being gluten-free at home, once I work out the details, but being gluten-free (and vegan) and eating out, travelling, etc - well, thinking about that is making my brain hurt! :) (Prob best not to think about it then!)

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While we are never happy to find out we have something like celiac it is good to have a diagnosis. Now you and your baby can start to heal. I hope your feeling better soon.

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