This often painful disease is part and parcel of the symptoms associated with the Celiac disease. Apart from the pain that dermatitis herpetiformis brings about, the resultant manifestation of blisters is quite itchy on parts of the body.
While blisters will be at least uncomfortable, the number of people suffering from DH experience far less damage to their small intestines, yet another acute symptom of the Celiac disease. One explanation goes that instead of the human body’s immune system attacking the gluten protein within the small intestines, it has things out on the dermal layer of the body’s skin.
When the body ingests gluten, no matter what form this ingestion takes, it triggers an autoimmune response from the body. This results in the formation of Ig A antibodies. These antibodies regard the arrival of the gluten protein as a threat to the body and then proceed to attack it in the small intestines. This is typical for sufferers of the Celiac disease. A number of symptoms are the result, with one critical symptom being an inability to absorb nutrients.
The Ig A antibodies are deposited under the upper layer of the skin. This results in a group of red blisters forming, and these can be quite itchy. Blisters are usually encountered around the knees, on the backs of elbows and close to the buttocks. In emerging diagnostic cases, blisters are now being found on the face and the scalp.
While diagnosing DH is fairly straightforward, the treatment of the disease is not clear, cut and dried if you will. Diagnosis takes place by way of a skin biopsy. Conventional treatment since the earliest discovery of the disease has always been by way of prescribed medications, in particular, the use of antibiotics. During the skin biopsy a small piece of the skin is removed for analysis. The test is never painful and is over and done with within minutes.
But lifelong prescriptive treatment has been recommended by medical practitioners. The moment the antibiotic drug ceases to be used, the blisters will return. Unfortunately, such prolonged treatment carries a number of harmful side effects. A safer and healthier alternative for sufferers is the lifelong practice of indulging in a gluten free diet.