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Darwin

Is It Dh?

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First, a little bit of backstory. I am a self-diagnosed gluten intolerant. My nurse practitioner did not see the point in testing for Celiac if I was planning on doing a gluten challenge anyway, so when I did it, it was obvious that the gluten was causing a problem. I have been off of gluten for a little over a year, with some oopsies along the way. I have accidentally been eating tiny bits of gluten for a while, but discovered the source last week. I had been having very mild digestive problems and when I accidentally glutened myself a few weeks ago, I did not have the usual large reaction that I usually have, but I had a lot of abdominal pains that came and went. Anyway, it ended up being my cereal. I eat generic rice chex and the company must have changed suppliers....it took a while to figure it out. I thought it was stress as I felt great after going home for the holidays, but I have found that I felt better because I was not eating the cereal. Since I have discovered that, my digestive system has slowly gotten better, but my face, neck and body are still a little puffy due to inflammation.

Anyway, last week, I got a red mark on my wrist that looked like a red-colored bruise. Since then, it has started to get tiny bumps like a rash, has continued to be red, and at times, it has looked kind of like really dry skin. Today it has started ITCHING, though I put a little bit of hydrocortizone on it and it feels a bit better. I have never gotten any blisters and the tiny bumps are not white, they are red, no drainage or anything. Both areas are close to each other and about the size of a black bean. It does not look like the normal red, dry patches I get and since it has been around for a few days, it is definitely not contact dermatitis. Any ideas? Is it DH?

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DH can look a lot of different ways. The significant thing is what you wrote ITCHING! Like maddeningly so. Some people have flesh colored blisters, some have teensy eensy pinpoint dot blisters, some have red blisters...the common thing is that it is activated by gluten. And they itch painfully and tend to be worse at night. The little bumps can come first, or you can have a burning itching sensation on the skin before any rash at all appears. I would not have described mine as blisters either. They were just sores with tiny dots inside. Later I learned that those blisters can be so fragile as to break almost as immediately as they form. If it is DH and a mild reaction, it may not weep. Some reactions don't. However, it it is DH and you keep eating gluten it WILL eventually weep. It sounds like it could be DH, but you won't know until you totally eliminate gluten...and you should know that iodine also causes the antibodies to stay active. You could ask for a biopsy of it, but many with DH test negative. I would consider myself a Celiac if I were you. That is...IF your rash responds to gluten free and low iodine.

My Dr. finally gave me the Celiac diagnosis after going and showing my rash many times and reporting that it did better on gluten-free diet. Eventually I had the rash in the classic places like elbows, hairline, lower back...but normally my rash was on my face. Be aware that DH can occur anywhere...and the fact that it is on your wrist may not be a common site for DH, but that doesn't mean it isn't DH.

The intense itching and pain associated with the rash are very telling. It is like no other beast on earth.

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From your description it sounds like it could be DH, but hard to say for certain. Your description is not the classic description of DH, but there are many variations.

My DH occurred primarily on my arms, from my wrists to my shoulders, but especially on my elbows.

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Well, it is starting to go away......and so is my bodily inflammation. I am starting to be able to see my collar bone and my clothes are starting to fit a little better......I am assuming it actually is Celiac as opposed to just an intolerance (though I personally think that since the symptoms are very similar between the two and because Celiac can be so difficult to diagnose, someone will eventually figure out that it is all the same thing). We think my grandmother had it and I am going to assume that my brother has it. My mom claims that bread makes her bloat and that she felt better on the atkins diet, so I am assuming that there is some intolerance going on there. Thanks for the advice!!!

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