There is a specific kind of rash that is often referred to as the "telltale celiac disease rash". This rash is often a symptom of gluten intolerance. Doctors who are familiar with the condition of celiac disease and its most basic symptoms will be able to move patients towards a hasty diagnosis of gluten intolerance based on the presence of the celiac disease rash. This situation, however, represents an ideal within the realm of celiac disease. Gluten intolerance remains one of the most easily misdiagnosed conditions within the medical profession. Also, since many persons displaying the classic celiac disease rash may have no other symptoms of gluten intolerance, it is no wonder that celiac disease can take over a decade to diagnose for the average patient.
About Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a condition of auto-immune gluten intolerance. Its exact cause is unknown, but genetic and environmental factors are suspect. Persons with celiac disease cannot tolerate the gluten protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Upon ingestion of gluten, a celiac's system will mount a full scale immune attack that ends up destroying the body's tissues instead of the actual gluten protein. Digestive symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation are amongst the most common. However, some celiacs never experience any noticeable digestive complaints. Chronic and significant weight loss may clue them in to their burgeoning health problems. Other celiacs may present a case of the classic celiac disease rash without any further symptoms. Though these latter cases are more rare throughout the celiac community, such deviations from the digestive complains only make some diagnoses of the disease even more complicated.
The only treatment in existence for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. This diet is absolutely imperative for the gluten intolerant patient. Since gluten will slowly erode the intestinal villi and eventually cause systemic problems in a celiac victim, it is regarded as a poison for these individuals.
The Classic Celiac Disease Rash
The classic celiac disease rash is also known as dermatitis herpetiformis. It an extremely uncomfortable rash, both itchy and burning. This rash is known to form clusters of water blisters that eventually pop, scale and reappear in just a few week's time. Common areas to find dermatitis herpetiformis are the elbows, back of neck, lower back, buttocks, and knees, but the rash is not limited to these areas.
Rashes come in many forms and can often mimic each other in their symptoms. Any patient suspecting gluten intolerance as the source of his dermal woes should pay close attention to the type of blisters/lesions forming on his skin rather than the generally affected areas. Again, the celiac disease rash begins with water-filled papular blisters. Beyond being uncomfortable, this rash also poses a further threat. Blisters that pop, bleed, and crust over may also become infected. Individuals who show signs of such a rash must take great care to clean any exposed and open sores very thoroughly.
Treatment for a Celiac Disease Rash
Ointments will sometimes be prescribed to control the discomfort of dermatitis herpetiformis. Ibuprofen can also be taken to control some aspects of the inflammation. However, once this rash has begun to manifest, it usually lingers for a month to several months before waning.
The main treatment for such an autoimmune rash is to eliminate its trigger factor which, in this case, is gluten. A gluten elimination diet can be a radical lifestyle change for the average person. Still, a lifetime of blistering rashes seems far more drastic than a diet of rice and almond flour. There is also a large and bustling online community for celiacs that can provide support and helpful tips for newcomers.