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Dermatitis Herpetiformis


What is dermatitis herpetiformis?

Dermatitis herpetiformis is an intensely pruritic (itchy) skin disease characterized by eruptions of clusters of small blisters or vesicles (small elevations of the skin containing fluid) and small bumps or papules (small, solid, elevations on the skin). Dermatitis herpetiformis usually occurs in young adults.

What triggers dermatitis herpetiformis?

Dermatitis herpetiformis is related to the presence of IgA deposits under the skin. These deposits occur in response to consuming glutens (proteins) in the diet, such as those found in wheat, barley, rye, and oat products. However, once IgA deposits occur, they are slowly cleared by the body even when the individual is gluten free.

What are the symptoms of Dermatitis Herpetiformis?

You may notice rashes on elbows, knees, lower back, hairline, back of neck, shoulder, buttocks and scalp. Before these rashes actually appear, there is burning and itching feeling on the affected area. Then bumps filled with clear liquid begin to form. If scratched, they heal in some time and again new bumps appear. This process continues for years.