Can Gluten Allergy Cause Eczema?

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The symptoms of many types of allergy (including gluten allergy) often involve the intestines and skin. Typically, the symptoms will flare up just after eating allergen foods (not longer than 2 hours) [6].

How about the link between gluten allergy and eczema?

Well, some experts say that this kind of allergy can have an effect in triggering many skin problems, and one of them could be eczema [7]. However, this also can vary from patient to patient.

Actually, eczema is not the common skin condition associated with celiac disease. Most cases of skin problem related to celiac disease are dermatitis herpetiformis or also familiar called as Duhring disease.

What is dermatitis herpetiformis?

About 15-25 percent of people with celiac disease have some episodes of dermatitis herpetiformis.

Eczema and dermatitis herpetiformis are not the only skin conditions that people with gluten allergy may have. Chronic dry skin, acne, psoriasis, alopecia areata, and acne breakouts are possible, too.

Dermatitis herpetiformis is often characterized by a burning sensation, intense itching – also followed with clusters of small blisters that usually affect the knees, back, elbows, scalp, or buttocks.

The interesting thing is most celiac sufferers with dermatitis herpetiformis typically don’t experience any digestive symptoms. Furthermore, it is also often confused with eczema. Even about 95 percent of dermatitis herpetiformis cases are misdiagnosed as eczema.

Fortunately, like other symptoms of gluten allergy, dermatitis herpetiformis usually can be managed with appropriate treatments and of course, with consistently gluten-free diet.

How does gluten allergy cause skin problems?

Like the cause of celiac disease itself, the cause of why the intestine problem in celiac disease can show up on the skin is also not fully understood. But, there are some theories!

One of theories is about the production of IgA (immunoglobulin A – a kind of antibody agent). In celiac sufferers, when they eat gluten, the immune system responds by creating IgA [8].

Then as this antibody enters the blood stream, it will collect and accumulate in blood vessels under the skin. And this mechanism may trigger further immune reactions and then cause blistering rash on the skin.

Citations /references:


All of these citations /references accessed on Feb 2014


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