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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes

Anyone Have Skin Problems?
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PLEASE HELP!

My finger tips literally split open and bleed, which is as you can imagine very painful. It might be called a skin fusion? I have never been able to get a diagnosis or cure for the problem. Sometimes the wounds can take weeks to heal. (I am not diabetic) So far Band-Aid brand Liquid bandages are my best chance at getting the wounds to heal. At any time I can have 10 or so skin splits on my hands.

I have gotten used to this problem since I have had it all of my life. (The skin splits did not last as long when I was an undiagnosed Celiac. My problem is it has gotten worse since going gluten-free. Now the wounds are taking so long to heal that the fingers keep getting re-injured and then the bleeding starts all over again. I have a hard time cooking for my family and friends since everytime I turn around I am getting blood on the food or utensils which grosses me out and I am sure makes everyone else nervous. (blood . . . diseases . . . yikes!)

1. Doctors: Do you have any suggestions about why my fingers keep splitting open and what can I do to make it stop?

2. Does anyone else have this problem? If so how do you deal with it?

3. I don't know if just touching Gluten is my problem. (I do try to wear gloves) I am very careful not to touch gluten unless I have no other option. If I do find that touching gluten is causing my fingers to split and bleed, does it mean that I am having a gluten reaction/posioning in my intestines???

Background: Biopsy diagnosed Celiac in 10/2003. Completely gluten-free ever since. Gained some weight back and other problems have gone away, my doctor is happy with my health. No other health problems. Take daily vitamins (gluten-free). Have checked all foods and misc items and I know I am not consuming gluten. Occassionally I need to touch bread to make a sandwhich for my toddler, but that's it.

Any advice or commentary would be greatly appreciated.

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Does anyone have trouble with the skin on their hands? I would really like to find someone who has or has heard of my problem.

My finger tips split open and bleed, which is very painful. Sometimes the would can take several weeks to heal. I have had this problem all of my life, but after going gluten-free it has gotten worse. Normally, the skin would burst open and bleed and then start healing again and the whole thing would be gone with in a week. After going gluten-free it seems that the wounds can take several weeks to heal and it is not uncomon to have 10 wounds on my hands at any given time.

My hands get dry and no amount of lotion will resolve the problem. Please don't tell me about a cream to use as I have tried them all. I actually coat my hands in olive oil for best results. It works really well, but the dryness stays while the skin splits are present.

I thought DH was a rash, so I am assuming this is not DH.

I am healthy aside from the celiac disease. I take daily vitamins. I do not have diabetes. I am gluten-free (6 months plus) and have checked all of the products I use to cook, clean, bath, eat, etc. I have no idea what this problem is, but my hands are hurting so badly I was hoping that someone on the site will have a suggestion.

Any ideas?

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Ouch! I remember something similar happening to me last year as soon as the weather turned cold (before I went gluten-free). It cleared up for me after I went gluten-free. The same thing had happened a year earlier, at which time I increased my intake of essential fatty acids with good results.

How is your intake of essential fatty acids? Both omega-3s and omega-6s are important for skin health. Salmon, fish oil, cod liver oil, flax oil, and freshly ground flaxseed are good sources of omega-3s, while black currant seed oil is rich in omega-6s.

If you decide to supplement with cod liver oil, keep in mind that it is also quite rich in actual vitamin A (NOT beta-carotene), which it IS possible to overdose on. (I don't know how relevant this concern might be, however, since I believe many celiacs are deficient in vitamin A.) You might not want to combine cod liver oil with a daily multi-vitamin. On the plus side, it is also rich in vitamin D, which helps prevent osteoporosis.

I hope this helps! Split fingers are the worst!

P.S. Have you had your thyroid function tested? It just occurred to me that slow healing might be caused or worsened by an underactive thyroid. Just a thought!

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Thanks for writing back. Did you get these skin splits for a long period of time when it happened to you?

I had my thyroid tested years ago when I first started getting seriously ill. I don't remember exactly what was tested, but the results were normal. I don't have insurance right now, so I am trying to avoid going to the doctor for the time being.

I actually have no idea how to figure out if I am eating any "essential fatty acids. My diet is basically Some form of meat, rice or potato, veggies, fruit, sweets, and pancakes and breads. It's really not a very interesting or varied diet, but it works for me. I use different marinades and seasonings to add some flavor change.

So what foods, other than seafood, would contain omega-3s or omega-6s?

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My hands have cracked and bled ever since I can remember. The best thing I have used is Carmol 20 (Carmol10 is probably good also) which is 20%Urea. My son told me about this late last year and I was amazed at how well it helps. I don't think it will cure anything but it will keep my hands moisturiszed for at least 6 hours which keeps them from cracking. Every other cream I've used, even prescription, are usually only good from 30 minutes to an hour max. It's been unbelievable. I have to have Walgreens order it for me and it usually comes in a day or two. I'm sure you can order it online also. I don't know why it's not used by other creams but it's by far the best I've seen. They also make a prescription strength but the 20% has worked so well, I haven't ask for it. Here's a link to the manufacturer. http://www.bradpharm.com/doak/carmol.htm

rick

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hapi2bgf,

Americans generally get enough omega-6s in their diets, but omega-3s are found almost exclusively in fish and flaxseeds. Maybe you could take a supplement; I know there are several brands available, and it might not be a bad idea anyway since we celiacs often have trouble absorbing fats and probably need to take in larger amounts of them.

I found Johnson & Johnson's 24-hour soothing body lotion more effective than others at keeping my skin moist for hours at a time, which really helped my body get ahead of the damage and heal it in a relatively short time. I hope you find a lotion that works for you!

As far as my thyroid goes, I just had a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test done as part of baseline bloodwork for a new doctor. According to the lab that performed the test, "normal" is from 0.34 to 4.82, and HIGHER numbers indicate LESS thyroid activity. My value was 1.96, which looks great--except that I read online that WOMEN tend to feel best at values between 1.0 and 2.0 and start to feel hyopthyroid at values above 2.0! That explains why I only recently started to feel better (on thyroid supplementation) and why I am feeling worse again now that I have run out of the supplement! I'm sure my TSH value has crept up over 2.0 since that test was run.

It's so hard to be without health insurance! I was without insurance for nearly a year, and I decided to view it as an opportunity to find a naturopath that I felt comfortable with (since my insurance wouldn't cover naturopathy anyway, I didn't feel like I was wasting my coverage!). I managed to find a wonderful N.D. who charges only $40 per visit ($60 for the initial visit). I definitely plan to continue seeing him, especially since I can't expect any thyroid assistance from a conventional doctor based on my "normal" test results.

I hope you find an effective treatment for your bleeding hands and that you are not without insurance for very long!

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My only advice is that after you rule in or out a health problem and you still don't have any answers then analyze if you are coming into contact with an allergen during your work or hobby. Do you have some type of a latex allergy (gloves)?

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I have not been tested for allergies in years, but I know my allergies are only environmental (cats, dusts, etc.) I've never had a problem with latex.

I may have to find a naturapath or homepathic type doctors. I have not had a good primary doctor in a long time and I can only uess that having celiacs will make it even harder to find a good primary care doctor. Any thoughts on the types of questions to ask and what to look for to find a good alternative style doctor?

I'll look into the carmol cream and some supplements too.

Thanks everyone!

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Guest aramgard

I also have the skin splits on my thumbs, but now that I am gluten free only when I have a gluten accident. You might double check anything you ingest for contamination and/or change in ingredients. I also have a couple of skin splits right now, and am trying to find the source. Shirley

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Thanks Shirley,

I was thinking that the Skin splits amy be coming from Gluten contact not ingestion. My hands seem to break open after touching something with Gluten even if I wash my hands right away with soap and water. Washing my hands always worked for my cat allergy. I was hoping it would work with the gluten.

Since you are one of the few people that I know of who gets these skin splits and think they are somehow related to gluten, I have another question. When you have a gluten accident, you get the skin splits. Does that mean that your intestines are damaged while you have the skin splits? My hands have been split open for so long that I am wondering if this is hurting more than just my hands right now?

Thanks for your help. Ann

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My brother gets skin splits on his finger tips as well. He works in radiology and noticed that when he washes his hands it almost gets worse. He refuses to be tested for celiac disease so I can't say that is what it is. I have the same problem and have had that problem for as long as I can remember, just thought it was dry in Colorado was the reason for it. One of my co-workers has the same problem, she actually has Crones (spelling) Disease, and she gets B12 shots monthly, she swears by diaper rash cream....Dr. Smith's Butt Cream I think is what she uses and she says it seems to help with the cracking and the pain. I have tried several things and I still get the sores...I feel for you..I will keep my ear open for any answers as well and if I find anything I will let you know.

Kelly

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Guest aramgard

Yes, I believe there is some damage to the intestine, but probably minimal. This could also be another allergy for me. I am not reacting with the intestinal problem right now, but I do have a skin split on my thumb-which I have not had in a couple of years. I also have a little bit of a rash. I'm thinking I overdid chocolate and perhaps am developing another allergy. So it's back to the drawing board for me. I am also allergic to cats. They make me wheeze and break out in hives. This only developed in the last 5 years. Before that we had cats all of the time and they never seemed to bother me. Ointments do not seem to help my skin splits, just make them feel better temporarily. With us Celiac's it's always something. Shirley

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Hmmm...that's odd - my mother has the exact same problem with the splits and cracks in her fingers/hands - she does not have Celiac - she has been complaining of this for some time now...maybe it's not a Celiac thing??

What do you do for work? Do you use your hands a lot at work?

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Hi Hapi2bgf

I have had dry skin problems for years, tried evey lotion there was. I get cracked bleeding hands for most of the year. It only subsides deep in the summer. A friend sells avon and told me to try something and it worked!! It's called moisture theorpy. I put it on several times a day and heavy at night. I still have a little dry skin but no more crackes. Check with an avon rep to be sure the ingredients are ok for you.

Good luck

Robin

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Thanks for the replies everyone.

I am beginning to think that the skin splits must be related to intestonal damage. I have had open skin splits for at least a month now and cannot get them to go away. Prior to being gluten-free I used to have TERRIBLE PMS. I have tried every form of medication and nothing cuts the PMS to a tollerable level. After going gluten-free, I have not had any PMS- except for this month. And this month is a bad one. Leads me to beineve something must be going wrong with the absorption.

I work with computers. I usually sit in front of a computer all day doing different types of documentation and editing. And when my finger tips have busted open and are bleeding it is kind of difficult to type. I am starting to think the skin splits must be soaps, diaper wipes, cleaning products, touching non-gluten-free foods, dogs, or something along that line.

I have checked all of my soaps and daily use products to make sure they are gluten-free. I am pretty sure the diaper wipes are ok. I will have to double check them. I never touch the liquid when mopping. I do touch non-gluten-free foods everyonce in a while. (Can't quite figure out how to feed the ducks with a toddler without touching the bread at some point!) I have serious allergies, especially to cats, so I know that I am not allergic to the dogs.

Just tired of being sore. Thanks for all your help.

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Have you tried the 20% Urea cream yet? I have suffered with this since I was a child and the Urea based ceram is the only one that's ever helped. I had one place that kept cracking and bleed for two years that has finally healed using this cream.

Rick

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Guest aramgard

Ann, Washing my hands no longer works for my cat allergy, because I immediately begin wheezing. It was a rough year last year. My daughters house burned in the San Diego fires and they moved in until they got their motor home with 2 cats and a dog. The cats were the bad thing and they kept them in the back bedroom and both of my daughters vacuumed twice a day and scrubbed the carpets several times but I still had 3 sinus infections and terrible asthma, until they moved out. We still have their dog, because he is very old and not able to cope with a motor home. My skin splits are much better now, just the one on my thumb. But before I was diagnosed my thumbs were always bloody with splits. I tried everything, but now I use surgical gloves to handle anything that isn't gluten free when I have to. And I use vitamin E ointment and aloe vera on the splits at night. Perhaps you could try this, but check the labels, they sneak gluten in to the darnedest things. Shirley

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