Celiac Disease Rash

Celiac Disease Rash: Overview, Symptoms and Treatment


Celiac Disease Rash occurs in people suffering from Celiac disease. It is also called as ‘Dermatitis Herpetiformis’. The rash develops over a few months or years. The typical symptoms of rash are blisters which are itchy in character and appear in multiple crops of Lesion in different parts of the body. The most affected sites are elbows and knees. The people suffering from celiac disease feel an intense need to scratch the affected area and itching is an unresistable.

What Is Celiac Disease Rash?

The rash occurs mostly in people suffering from celiac disease. It occurs as a result of sensitivity to the gluten component of the diet. Gluten is the protein found in Wheat, grains, nuts, and barley. However, when the person has a sensitivity to gluten he suffers a hypersensitivity reaction as soon as he ate the food containing Gluten. The immune reaction triggers the inflammatory reaction in the body. The IGA antibody deposits against the antigens and it causes an inflammatory reaction which causes celiac disease rash.

What Is Age For Development Of Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease rash can affect any age group but occurs mostly in teens in twenty to thirty years of age. The disease resides if the person is taking a gluten-free diet and occurs as soon as a diet containing gluten is continued. The pattern of rash may be continued which means it will not undergo remission when it develops. It may sometimes have a relapsing-remitting course which means the disease stopped as soon as the medicines and gluten-free diet are taken but it occurs as soon as a diet containing gluten is taken again and medications are stopped.

Where Does Celiac Disease Occur?

The rash may appear on any side of the body but the most affected parts are back of elbows, front of knees, abdomen, buttocks, scalp, and back. It is one of the itches condition of skin one can ever develop in his life. It resembles to other skin conditions causing itching but however, the itch is severe and the person is not able to resist it. It may sometimes have a burning sensation around the affected area.

  • Celiac Disease Rash on abdomen:

Celiac Disease Rash

The rash is typically asymmetrical and it means if you suffer rash on one side of the abdomen you will experience that rash on another side of your abdomen as well. If the other side of the abdomen is free of rash, dermatitis herpetiformis is ruled out and some other skin conditions are to be suspected

  • Celiac Disease Rash on legs and feet:

Celiac Disease Rash

Rash on legs and feet is symmetrical in nature and it means both of the legs and feet will be affected and the person will experience itching over the affected areas.

  • Celiac Disease Rash on hands:

Celiac Disease Rash

The hands are usually spared in celiac disease rash. The itchy blisters develop over the hands sometimes both of the hands are affected. Fluid-filled blisters are present along with the rash which causes severe burning and itching sensation

Who Develops Celiac Rash?

  • About 20% of individuals with celiac disease experience rash
  • The rash affects more males as compared to females
  • it occurs over months or years in people of twenty to thirty years of age
  • it is not common in childhood
  • few of the people suffering from celiac disease also suffer intestinal symptoms if gluten free diet is taken while rest do not suffer any intestinal disease


The rash of the celiac disease consists of itchy blisters. There are tiny spots which are sometimes fluid and are itchy in nature. The wheal of reaction is created at the affected side. The colonies of red, bumpy, blistery rash develop over the site which crust over and scab later on. It may begin with a burning sensation around the affected area 3 to 5 days prior to the onset of rash. The people who suffer long-standing celiac rash have permanently developed red dotted skin with purplish black dots. The blisters are filled with fluid which is composed of white blood cells that are pulled towards the area as a result of immune reaction.


The rash of the dermatitis herpetiformis may be confused with eczema, simple acne, hives, scabies, or any bug bite so apart from clinical diagnosis alone, Laboratory diagnosis is also required for the confirmation of the disease.

  • Skin biopsy: the doctor will scrape the top layer of your skin which is also known as ‘dermal papillae’. he will then check for Neutrophils and antigen to antibody deposits so as to confirm the rash of celiac disease. It is the only initial and best test among many for confirmation of celiac disease rash.
  • Tissue titers of IgA-tTG: antibody to tissue transglutaminase is present in 80% of people suffering from celiac disease rash. It is more specific to the diagnosis of celiac disease only but sometimes helps to rule out the rash as well.


1- Gluten-Free Diet:

There is currently no cure for celiac disease rash but the disease is controlled by taking a proper diet and medications. A lifelong gluten-free diet is required. You can eat rice but you cannot eat wheat, grains, barley as it contains the gluten component of the diet. The time response to the skin is slow and sometimes it might take up to 6 months or two years to control the skin rash but the intestinal symptoms are controlled within a few days of taking the gluten off the diet.

2- Medications:

  • Antibiotics: as soon as the antibiotics are started the rash begin to subside. It begins to disappear after 48 hours of the onset of taking medications. DAPSONE is the best medication to treat celiac rash which is to be taken from the mouth.
  • Corticosteroids: steroids are applied locally over affected skin once or twice a day. It helps to reduce the inflammation and itching of rash.

For How Long the Rash Last?

The rash of the celiac disease lasts longer when a diet containing gluten-free components is started. It might take up to 2 years for a complete remission of disease while when the person is taking medications the rash tends to disappear earlier.

When to Seek Medical Help?

Celiac disease rash is a chronic inflammatory condition. You should consult your general practitioner as soon as the rash is causing crops of lesions with a burning sensation. Your doctor will advise you to take your gluten-free diet and may prescribe you the medication. You should comply with treatment completely for curing the disease faster.

HP Thoughts: Be informed on how to treat celiac disease! Continue reading our series on this ailment — Celiac Disease Treatment.

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