Dermatitis herpetiformis is a chronic type of the dermatitis which features with itchy rash and blisters. The predilection places of dermatitis herpetiformis include the elbows, knees, back and the scalp. The face may be affected as well but this does not occur very often. This type of dermatitis is associated with celiac disease. Dermatitis herpetiformis may be, in fact, one of the first symptoms of celiac disease. Apart from celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis may also occur in people who are suffering from diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, vitiligo or autoimmune thyroid disorder.
Basically, this type of dermatitis affects people between 20 and 40 years of age. However, this disease may also affect children and people older than 40.
Symptoms of Dermatitis Herpetiformis
This leading characteristic of this disease is a rash which consists of numerous tiny blisters or discrete papules and bumps. The rash may contain smooth lesions as well. These skin changes occur symmetrically and predominantly affect the elbows, knees, back and buttocks. Skin changes are rather itchy. Patients may additionally complain about tingling or burning sensations.
Some patients suffer from intensive itching and scratch the skin lesion. This only makes the situation worse. All the skin changes tend to form groups which resemble skin lesions caused by herpes simplex hence the mane of the disease.
Itchy sensation eventually stop and blisters turn into crusts which represents the terminal stage of the disease.
Treatment for Dermatitis Herpetiformis
Special dietary regimes as well as certain medications are included in the therapy. Dapsone is a medication commonly used in leprosy. Still this drug is highly efficient in controlling the blisters in people suffering from dermatitis herpetiformis. This medication can be helpful with symptoms caused by inflammation and can additionally reduce the intensity of itchiness.
Apart from Dapsone there are additional medications which can be used. They include sulfapyridine, tetracycline, colchicine and nicotinamine. However, none of the previously mentioned medications can help with the symptoms of the disease like Dapsone. The doctor will prescribe Dapsone or any other medication he/ she considers is the most suitable for a particular patient.
Since dermatitis herpetiformis is directly related to celiac disease it is clear that a strict gluten free diet can be highly effective in prevention of disease as well as in reduction of the already existing symptoms. This can be perfectly achieved if one avoids food rich in gluten. Gluten is a part of numerous foods such as oats, what, rye and barley. By avoiding this food one can benefit and prevent re-occurrence of dermatitis herpetiformis in the future.