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Highlighting Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Many times doctors or dermatologist do not always know what causes a skin growth, rash or a blemish. Some skin conditions are present at birth and other aliments can develop as a person gets older and is exposed to more things.


Dermatitis Herpetiformis is also referred to as Duhring’s disease. It is an uncommon disease that is characterized as an extremely itchy red, rash that consists of small clusters of bumps and watery blisters. The individual may also experience a burning or stinging sensation around the area. The itching can be unbearable at times, and the urge to scratch them sometimes is overwhelming. You should be careful, because scratching them can lead to a secondary infection. They will heal and a scab will form and then fall off. There is a strong possibility that even with treatment, new bumps and blisters will appear. It is often associated with individuals who have sensitivity to glutens. Glutens are the proteins in wheat, rye and barley products. This is referred to as Celiac Disease. Dermatitis Herpetiformis is not a contagious disease.

Who can get them?

Dermatitis Herpetiformis seems to affect individuals of Northern European descent. It can be found in both males and females; however, it seems to be more prevalent in males. It usually begins after the age of twenty, though some children may be affected by this aliment.

What can cause them?

The exact cause of Dermatitis Herpetiformis is unknown. It is frequently associated with individuals who have sensitivity to gluten type products. Once this is determined, it helps to narrow down those types of treatments available.

How does it happen?

Dermatitis Herpetiformis can be a reaction to gluten, a protein found in cereals and other products. The rash occurs when gluten from your food is combined with Immunoglobulin A, and they circulate in your blood stream. This eventually clogs up the small blood vessels in your skin, and releases chemicals called complements, thus creating the rash. This causes a small bumps and blisters to appear. The rash can be very itchy and uncomfortable for the person with this skin disorder

Where do they appear?

Dermatitis Herpetiformis usually appear at pressure points on the body such as the elbows, knees, scalp, back and buttocks. They also appear on the front and back of the affected area. It can affect other locations, and the severity in each one can be different. It can leave a brown spot after it clears up.

What are the symptoms?

Dermatitis Herpetiformis symptoms include a particularly itchy red, rash that consists of bumps and blisters. Many times the symptoms seem to get worse, and then start to get better.

How can it be diagnosed?

A doctor or dermatologists can diagnosis Dermatitis Herpetiformis by conducting a skin biopsy and immunofluorescence test. A biopsy is when a piece of the inflicted area is removed and examined under a microscope. Immunofluorescence is a technique doctors use to label different antibodies, this is done with fluorescent dyes. The doctor may also refer you to a gastroenterologist to test your intestines to see if you have a gluten problem. Blood tests will also be done to confirm the diagnosis.

What treatments are available?

The blisters and rash will go away without treatment. Some ointments and creams are given to help with the itching of the rash. The doctor can prescribe a drug called dapsone, which is an antibiotic that help to relieve the symptoms of this aliment within one to two days. This drug does have some side effects, so your doctor will have to watch for those. Treatment could be throughout an individual’s life. If gluten is found to be the cause, the individual may also have to be put on a gluten-free diet to help control this disorder.

It is important that individuals check themselves for skin growths, rashes and blemishes. Adults should also periodically check children for them also. If anything usually appears it is recommended that you see a doctor as soon as possible, like in the case of Dermatitis Herpetiformis their may be an underlying cause to the skin condition. This condition should be watched carefully, as it can lead to other illnesses, if not treated properly.

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