Dermatitis Herpetiformis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Dermatitis herpetiformis may be unsightly and uncomfortable, but it’s not dangerous. However, it’s usually a warning sign of a much more dangerous condition if it’s not treated properly.
In this article, we’ll explain what dermatitis herpetiformis is, as well as its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
What Is Dermatitis Herpetiformis?
Dermatitis herpetiformis is a chronic, blistering skin condition. It usually indicates that the patient has some form of gluten intolerance, such as Celiac disease. 15 to 25 percent of people with Celiac disease eventually experience dermatitis herpetiformis. Patients who develop dermatitis herpetiformis normally do not know they have a gluten intolerance.
Causes Of Dermatitis Herpetiformis
Dermatitis herpetiformis is technically a symptom of Celiac disease, which is a strong, gluten allergy. Gluten is a protein that’s found in certain types of grain products. Gluten is the chemical compound that gives bread that spongy quality to it. It can be found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, triticale, malt, brewer’s yeast, and wheat starch. Gluten can also be found in a variety of wheat derivatives such as wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, and einkorn wheat.
If you’re looking to avoid gluten, you have to be extra careful about what you’re eating. Gluten is in so many foods. Many fast food establishments even add wheat products to their meat dishes as a type of filler. Basically, if you haven’t seen a food products ingredient list before, you need to look at it before you start eating, every single time.
If you don’t properly watch your gluten intake, and you have Celiac disease, you could develop dermatitis herpetiformis. If you’re experiencing the symptoms of dermatitis herpetiformis, talk with your doctor. Your doctor can help you look at your diet to find where the unnoticed source of gluten.
What’s happening when you eat gluten is, your body’s immunoglobulin A (IgA) react to the gluten you consumed. These IgA antibodies begin attacking the gluten proteins and create clogs in the bloodstream. To fight back against these clogs, your white blood cells release a chemical that, as a side-effect, creates an itchy, blistery rash. This rash is what’s known as dermatitis herpetiformis.
Symptoms Of Dermatitis Herpetiformis
The symptoms of dermatitis herpetiformis include:
- Bumps with clear liquid
- Purple marks
- New blisters consistently replacing old blisters
Patients with dermatitis herpetiformis usually find the rash on the elbows, knees, lower back, hairline, back of the neck, shoulders, buttocks, or scalp.
Dermatitis herpetiformis usually is not associated with specific intestinal symptoms. But if you have Celiac disease, chances are good that you’ll experience other symptoms besides blistered skin.
Other symptoms of Celiac disease, besides dermatitis herpetiformis, include:
- Osteoporosis (loss of bone density)
- Osteomalacia (bone softening)
- Damaged tooth enamel
- Mouth ulcers
- Numbness in hands and feet
- Difficulty balancing
- Cognitive impairment
- Joint pain
- Hyposplenism (reduced functioning of the spleen)
- Chronic diarrhea
- Belly swelling
As you look at the symptoms of Celiac disease, it’ll become clear why it’s so important to seek treatment once you notice the symptoms of dermatitis herpetiformis. It’s a warning sign that something is wrong and that something will get much worse if it’s left untreated.
If you notice that you’re experiencing dermatitis herpetiformis, contact a medical doctor to get an official diagnosis. Once you’ve been diagnosed, your doctor can help you receive treatment for both dermatitis herpetiformis and Celiac disease. The sooner you can do this, the better. You’ll want to start treatment before you start experiencing other symptoms.
Treatments For Dermatitis Herpetiformis
There are three ways to treat dermatitis herpetiformis. They are:
Antibiotics - Certain kinds of powerful antibiotics are effective in treating dermatitis herpetiformis. This is usually the first step doctors take when treating patients for the condition. Although antibiotics can help treat dermatitis herpetiformis, they also come with side effects. Some of the side effects of these powerful antibiotics include liver problems, sensitivity to sunlight, anemia, muscle weakness, and peripheral neuropathy. These antibiotics can also react negatively to other medications. So when you speak to your doctor, be sure that you list all of the medications you’re taking. You’ll want to be sure that your antibiotics do not cause additional health problems.
Immunosuppressive drugs - Since dermatitis herpetiformis is caused by the white blood cells and antibodies inappropriately attacking gluten molecules, many doctors treat dermatitis herpetiformis as an immune system problem. To counter this, some doctors will prescribe certain types of immunosuppressive drugs. This is a good alternative for those who are experiencing the negative side effects of antibiotics. It’s also a good alternative for people who can’t take antibiotics because of other medications. The only problem with immunosuppressive drugs is that many of them are less effective than antibiotics. This is because they do not treat the symptoms but dampen them instead.
Change in diet - In the end, no treatment plan will be effective long-term without a change in diet. Dermatitis herpetiformis is caused by gluten intolerance. If you continue eating gluten then you will continue experiencing dermatitis herpetiformis. The best thing to do is check the ingredients list before you eat something new. If you’ve never before seen the ingredient list for a specific food, from a specific brand, don’t eat it until you have. You’re looking to avoid anything that contains wheat, rye, barley, oats, or any of their byproducts. Your doctor may recommend that you set up an appointment with a dietician who can give you additional advice for avoiding gluten. A dietician can be extremely helpful when you’re trying to avoid gluten, especially at the beginning when you’re developing new eating habits.
Emuaid Can Help Your Dermatitis Herpetiformis
Gluten cannot penetrate the skin barrier. The only way you’re going to experience dermatitis herpetiformis is by consuming gluten. You consume gluten in your food, but you also accidentally consume small amounts of gluten in certain types of makeup, mouthwash, and toothpaste. So be sure to check any product for gluten that you may consume accidentally or on purpose.
Any one of them could accidentally trigger dermatitis herpetiformis.
No matter which product triggered your dermatitis herpetiformis, you still stand to benefit from Emuaid.
Emuaid is an all-natural, homeopathic ointment which can help treat irritated skin and speed up the healing process. It helps soothe irritated skin. If you’re experiencing blisters from dermatitis herpetiformis, Emuaid will help you soothe your skin, calm your inflammation, lessen your itching, and improve the healing process.
Ask your doctor if Emuaid is right for you today.