Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is a different form of Celiac Disease that affects the skin but is still an immune response to the proteins in wheat, barley, rye and their subspecies (known collectively as gluten).
Approximately 10% of those with Celiac Disease will have DH and it occurs most prevalently in males. Adults generally are diagnosed between the ages of 25-45 but children and older adults may have Dermatitis Herpatiformis as well.
Symptoms of DH
The most obvious indication of Dermatitis Herpetiformis is a chronic skin condition with rash and/or blisters that may burn and itch. These skin eruptions occur most commonly on the elbows, knees and buttocks but may also be found on the upper back, neck, scalp and hairline.
Dermatitis Herpetiformis may less commonly present as bowel complaints and most people with DH will have some damage to their gastrointestinal symptom just like Celiac Disease.
Diagnosis for Dermatitis Herpetiformis
DH is often misdiagnosed as other skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, among others. Definitive diagnosis occurs with a skin biopsy of unaffected skin taken from a spot nearby to the affected skin.