Dermatitis Herpetiformis, or DH is characterized by blisters like patches on the skin that are intensely itchy and are primarily located in knees, buttocks, and elbows. There is severe itching, in addition to stinging and burning sensation. Another similar condition is statis dermatitis, which is also a skin disease occurring in the patients with chronic venous insufficiency.
The diagnosis of mild dermatitis herpetiformis can be done by a simple skin test. A small patch of skin from the unaffected area is taken, and it is examined for immunoglobulin A. It is found at the specific site on the skin. The diagnosis of mild dermatitis herpetiformis can also be confirmed with the help of small intestinal biopsy and blood test. These tests look for tissue transglutaminase antibodies and anti-endomysial antibodies.
Most commonly used drugs for mild dermatitis herpetiformis are sulphapyridine, dapsone and sulphamethoxypyridazine. These drugs effectively control the rashes caused by DH, but the rashes reappear soon after use of the drugs is discontinued. However, if taken in long run, these medications can have serious side effects.
For treating mild dermatitis herpetiformis, it is important to switch to gluten free diet. It is very important to stick to this diet so that the use of drugs can be gradually reduced. DH is not an autoimmune disease, but patients suffering from pernicious anemia, thyroid disease and diabetes are more likely to suffer from mild dermatitis herpetiformis.
People suffering from mild dermatitis herpetiformis have mild malabsorption associated with inflammation of stomach lining and low stomach acid. This can lead to anemia, and deficiency of folic acid, iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Para-aminobenzoic acid is helpful to reduce or eliminate the lesion of mild dermatitis herpetiformis.
Use of nutritional produce and pharmaceuticals is important for self care for patients of mild dermatitis herpetiformis. Some patients may also need to make use of non-alllergenic products such as shampoos, soaps, hand lotions, face powder, laundry detergents, mouth wash, toothpaste, and so on. Milk free diet can also help improve the symptoms of mild dermatitis herpetiformis. For most of the patients, the combination of gluten-free diet, medications and milk-free diet provided significant relief from mild DH symptoms in the long run.
If suffering from mild dermatitis herpetiformis, get extra antioxidants, and take daily supplement of 10 IU of Vitamin E, and 200 mcg of selenium. Consult your healthcare provider at regular intervals for the blood tests to make sure that you are not developing any nutritional deficiencies due to malabsorption due to DH.