What does a gluten allergy rash look like
It's not unusual for a true allergic reaction to result in a skin rash, so it makes some intuitive sense to call dermatitis herpetiformis a "gluten allergy," as it causes a remarkably itchy, persistent rash. But this rash is not the result of a true allergy: dermatitis herpetiformis is an autoimmune skin condition that occurs when (you guessed it) you've eaten gluten grains. Symptoms include:
- Multiple little bumps that glance love pimples
- Reddened skin
- Itching and burning
- Purple marks where bumps are healing
Dermatitis herpetiformis can happen anywhere on your body, but the most common locations for this rash are your buttocks, elbows, knees and on the back of your neck.
If you're about to own an outbreak, the itching generally starts even before you see the bumps appear. The condition is closely related to celiac disease and is associated with celiac disease.
So How Can You Tell Which 'Gluten Allergy' You Have?
It's clear you can't tell from symptoms alone. The truth is, you'll need to see your doctor and own some medical testing to determine which of these gluten-related conditions — if any — you might actually have.
If you own gastrointestinal symptoms that may point to celiac disease, you'll likely start with celiac blood tests. If those are positive, your doctor will likely recommend you undergo an endoscopy
Celiac disease affects about one in every 133 Americans.
The most dangerous potential symptom of wheat allergy is anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening systemic allergic reaction.
People experiencing anaphylaxis from wheat allergy may discover themselves coughing, wheezing or having difficulty swallowing; their hearts may beat rapidly or slow down; and they may own a large drop in blood pressure. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency, so if you experience these symptoms, call 911 immediately.
While about one in four people diagnosed with gluten ataxia has the characteristic villous atrophy of celiac disease, only about one in 10 (and not necessarily the same people) has gastrointestinal symptoms.
Does Your Rash Glance Love This? Gluten May Be Causing It
Although dermatitis herpetiformis can form anywhere on your body, its most frequent locations include the elbows, knees, buttocks, lower back and the back of the neck. In most cases (but not all), it's one of the itchiest skin conditions you can experience.
This photo shows a close-up of the rash, with its distinctive tiny reddish-purple bumps.
The dermatitis herpetiformis bumps generally take several days to heal (during which time new bumps generally appear nearby), and once healed, those bumps will leave behind little purple marks that final for weeks or months. People with long-standing dermatitis herpetiformis generally own continuously reddened, purple-dotted skin where their rash occurs.
When dermatitis herpetiformis is severe, the lesions often are topped with clear, fluid-filled blisters that pop easily when scratched (and it's beautiful hard not to scratch this itchy rash). The liquid in those blisters contains white blood cells, which are drawn to the area as a result of the autoimmune attack on the skin.
Coeliac disease is a condition where your immune system attacks your own tissues when you eat gluten.
This damages your gut (small intestine) so you are unable to take in nutrients.
Coeliac disease can cause a range of symptoms, including diarrhoea, abdominal pain and bloating.
Coeliac disease is caused by an adverse reaction to gluten, which is a dietary protein found in 3 types of cereal:
Gluten is found in any food that contains those cereals, including:
- breakfast cereals
- certain types of sauces
- most types of bread
- some ready meals
In addition, most beers are made from barley.
Gluten Ataxia: Scary Brain Disorder
The final of the potential "gluten allergy" conditions is also the most uncommon: a brain disorder called gluten ataxia.
When you suffer from gluten ataxia, gluten consumption actually causes your immune system to attack the part of your brain called the cerebellum, potentially resulting in damage that's eventually irreversible.
Symptoms of gluten ataxia include:
- Deterioration of fine motor skills
- Problems with walking and your gait
- Slurring of speech
- Clumsiness and lack of coordination
- Difficulty swallowing
Gluten ataxia is progressive: sufferers may start out with what may seem love a minor balance problem, but can ultimately wind up significantly disabled.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: No, It's Not Celiac Disease
So you own diarrhea and/or constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, fatigue and brain fog — you must own celiac disease, right? Not so quick. you also might own non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Gluten sensitivity—a condition that's only been accepted by researchers and clinicians over the past couple of years—causes symptoms that are really similar to those of celiac disease. In fact, it's not possible to tell the two conditions apart without medical testing.
Here's a partial list of what you might experience if you own non-celiac gluten sensitivity:
- Heartburn and/or "stomach ache"
- Brain fog
- Diarrhea and/or constipation
- Headaches (including migraine)
- Rashes and/or eczema
Like those with celiac disease, people with the non-celiac gluten sensitivity form of "gluten allergy" also report joint pain, anxiety and/or depression, and even tingling in their arms and legs.
Celiac Disease: A Whole-Body Experience
When your doctor hears you tell "gluten allergy," she's likely to ponder first of celiac disease, which occurs when your immune system mounts an attack on your little intestine in response to ingestion of gluten-containing foods.
There are numerous diverse symptoms potentially caused by celiac disease—every case is diverse, and in fact some people don't own any symptoms at every. But there are some symptoms that appear frequently in people ultimately diagnosed with celiac disease, including:
- Brain fog
- Abdominal pain and/or heartburn
- Joint pain
- Diarrhea and/or constipation
- Depression and/or anxiety
The absence of these symptoms doesn't necessarily mean you can law out celiac disease: as I said, some people own no symptoms at every, or suffer mainly from neurological symptoms (such as migraines and tingling in their arms and legs).
Wheat Allergy: This Is a Genuine Allergy
People who are allergic to wheat—actually, truly allergic to it—sometimes also experience gastrointestinal symptoms and rashes, but they also experience more "typical" allergy symptoms, love a runny nose. People occasionally refer to a wheat allergy as a "gluten allergy," but true wheat allergy doesn't necessarily involve gluten—it's possible to be allergic to numerous diverse components of the wheat plant.
Symptoms of true wheat allergy include:
- Swelling of lips, tongue and/or face
- Itchy, red, watery eyes
- Nausea, vomiting and/or abdominal pain
- Nasal congestion
- Hives and/or itchy rashes
- Difficulty breathing
Symptoms of coeliac disease
Eating foods that contain gluten can trigger a range of gut symptoms, such as:
Coeliac disease can also cause more general symptoms, including:
Children with coeliac disease may not grow at the expected rate and may own delayed puberty.
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition. This is where the immune system (the body’s defence against infection) mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.
In coeliac disease, the immune system mistakes substances found inside gluten as a threat to the body and attacks them.
This damages the surface of the little bowel (intestines), disrupting the body’s ability to take in nutrients from food.
It’s not entirely clear what causes the immune system to act this way, but a combination of genetics and the environment appear to play a part.