This is my first post here. I have a recurring, itching, spreading skin rash for which I have seen numerous dermatologists and physicians. No one is able to identify exactly what it is or what is causing it. The last time I saw a dermatologist, he mentioned that it could be dermatitis herpetiformis.
This is how the rash seems to evolve:
I can tell when it's coming on, as the skin gets pinkish and hot over an area, and then it itches a lot. Eventually, the rash becomes more organized, and small bumps appear, and of course, they continue to itch and burn like crazy. Heat aggravates it terribly, and so does just about everything - clothing rubbing on it, moisture, etc.
I have the rash on my chest, lower back, outer thighs, hairline, and elbows.
From the time it appears, it typically takes months to get rid of it. Usually, it clears up in one area, only to appear in an adjoining or other location. It seems to flare and remit multiple times over the course of a year.
If this is not dermatitis herpetiformis, could it possibly be some sort of hives? As I said, everything seems to irritate my skin, and maybe the heat/cold, friction, or moisture are bringing this on somehow.
I am so exasperated by this rash, I don't know what to do. I've used steroid creams, Benadryl creams, and moisturizing lotion. Nothing seems to make this rash go away very easily. It likes to run its course over months, disappear for awhile, and then reappear all over again.
A skin biopsy could rule out DH. I'm surprised he didn't take one, if he suspects DH. Untreated DH, like celiac, can lead to intestinal cancer, among about a hundred other unpleasant disorders.
Were you already dx with celiac? Or is this out of the blue for you?
I have celiac, no DH thankfully, but I do have cold urticaria (temp induced hives). Hives generally don't last months, or evolve slowly.
Last edited by AuntieLeela; 07-23-2010 at 10:10 PM.
Auntie Leela - I have not been diagnosed, and no biopsy was taken because the rash was going into remission and not able to be biopsied. I will go in when it returns. I am 38, and the rash has been coming and going for the past 5 years or so. I also have cold urticaria.
Active DH is usually treated with Dapsone, an antibiotic, along with the gluten free diet. The skin biop will look for specific antibodies to gluten, so don't change your eating habits, going gluten free or even gluten lite can skew the test.
I also get hives from pressure (carrying groceries, books) and heat (I look like a murder victim coming out of the shower). If it's not DH and your physical allergies are becoming more severe, you really need to see an allergist/immunologist that specializes in Urticaria/Angioedema.