Photo of dermatitis herpetiformis (gluten rash)

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Dermatitis herpetiformis on the hands.

White Whale / Creative Commons

It is unusual to see dermatitis herpetiformis on the hands, but the rash can appear anywhere on the body.

Dermatitis herpetiformis is more common in men (unlike celiac disease, which is more often diagnosed in women ). In fact, some studies show a male-to-female ratio of up to two to one in patients with dermatitis herpetiformis.

Relatively little research has been done on the health risks associated with dermatitis herpetiformis, but one study shows a risk of bone thinning comparable to that faced by people with celiac disease.

Another study found an increased risk of thyroid disease in people with dermatitis herpetiformis. This should come as no surprise, as celiac disease and thyroid disease often go together .

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take after consuming gluten to develop a rash?

If you have celiac disease, the rashes can appear hours or days after consuming gluten. If you are allergic to wheat , a rash may appear within two hours of eating.

Can I get a gluten rash if I don't have celiac disease?

Yes. If you are allergic to gluten (which is different from celiac disease), you can develop an allergic rash.

Does celiac disease affect your eyes?

Maybe. In rare cases, celiac disease affects several senses and can cause ophthalmic complications. This could be because people with celiac disease eat too little vitamin A, vitamin D, and calcium, or it could be related to autoimmune diseases.

Get the word of drug information

Controlling dermatitis herpetiformis on a gluten-free diet can be surprisingly difficult (in fact, you need to be much more stringent to avoid skin symptoms than to avoid gluten-related digestive symptoms). As an anecdote, those who did this say that the constant itch is worth eliminating.

If you can control the rash and achieve remission, any future outbreaks will be less severe (and ultimately not even especially noticeable).

Conversation guide with a doctor with celiac disease

Get our printable guide to your next doctor's appointment to help you ask the right questions.

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