Dermatitis herpetiformis (patient information)
Dermatitis herpetiformis On the Web
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Dermatitis herpetiformis is an extremely itchy rash made of bumps and blisters. The rash is chronic, which means it continues over a long period of time.
What are the symptoms of dermatitis herpetiformis?
Dermatitis herpetiformis is usually extremely itchy. The bumps or blisters usually appear on the elbows, knees, back, and buttocks. In most cases, the rash is the same size and shape on both sides. Symptoms of dermatitis herpetiformis tend to come and go.
What causes dermatitis herpetiformis?
The cause is unknown. However, dermatitis herpetiformis is frequently linked to gluten sensitivity (celiac sprue disease) in the small bowel.
Who is at highest risk?
Dermatitis herpetiformis usually begins in people age 20 and older, although children may sometimes be affected. It is seen in both men and women.
The child will be unable to rotate the arm at the elbow so that the palm is up and will have trouble bending (flexing) the elbow all the way.
When to seek urgent medical care?
Call your health care provider if you have a rash that continues despite home treatment.
Dapsone, an antibiotic, may help most patients.
A strict gluten-free diet will also be recommended to help control the disease. Sticking to this diet may remove the need for medications and prevent later complications.
Where to find medical care for Dermatitis herpetiformis?
What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?
The disease may be well controlled with treatment. Without treatment, there may be a significant risk of intestinal cancer.
Thyroid disease may be found in many patients with dermatitis herpetiformis. Patients are also more likely to develop certain cancers of the intestines.
Prevention of Dermatitis herpetiformis
There is no known prevention of this disease. People with this condition may be able to prevent complications by avoiding foods that contain gluten.
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