Red itchy swollen eyelids, skin rash, flaky scalp and blisters on legs...
If you do not want to read my entire background, skip to the second to last paragraph where I discuss what “cured” me.
I am a 28 year old male who has had allergies, asthma and eczema my whole life. However, these are all were completely under control (no shots, no use of inhaler, or any topical creams being used) and otherwise I am completely active and healthy. About two years ago, my back started to itch uncontrollably. I did not think much of it and just kept a backscratcher by my bed and would wake up once or twice a night, scratch my back and try to fall back asleep. Eventually, after about a year of this, the itchy back got worse and other parts of my body started becoming extremely itchy (mostly scalp, shoulders and chest). At this point I went to a Dermatologist who told me it was just eczema and this is life going forward. She gave me Prednisone, which cleared everything up for a couple of days but by the end of the cycle I was back to being extremely itchy.
About six months after that (six months ago) my face started to swell (mostly around my eyes) and become very red in the morning to the point that I would go into work on Monday morning and my boss honestly thought I got into a bar fight over the weekend. My whole body would have hives and my skin would be bright red almost looking like a sunburn. I would sit at work with bags of ice on my face trying to take down the swelling. I went back to a new dermatologist who told me the exact same thing as the last one and gave me more prednisone. I asked about seeing an allergist and the dermatologist told me that this would not help because it is a skin issue. The problem seemed to be worst on Sunday and Mondays and get better through the week. I was certain that it was an allergy because of how it came and went so I saw the allergist. He told me it may be mold or tomatoes, so I quit eating tomatoes and got my house checked for mold. The company checking for mold said they found it and my house was treated. When I moved back in, no change, mold was not the issue. Neither was tomatoes.
Because the problem came on the weekends, I completely quit drinking alcohol which seemed to help a little but the problem still persisted. A short time later, I started noticing the small pimple like blisters would appear on my legs. I would get about 15 to 20 on each leg from my knee and down. These would be very itchy and I would scratch at night and open them which resulted in ugly open sores. My chest also had open sores from scratching. I started changing my bedsheets every single night due to blood and dead skin being all over my sheets (also thinking that maybe the dead skin was attracting dust mites).
I could always deal with the itchy skin, but when my face became so inflamed it started to make me almost depressed. I was so self conscious about my problems that it was beginning to affect my every day life. I quit going to the gym or pretty much doing anything. My girlfriend dumped me and I would try going on dates but was so self conscious that I would be afraid to look people in the eyes because my eyes felt so swollen (even though I was told I look ok, I knew I didn’t) I was willing to try anything and everything at this point as I could not take it anymore. I started reading all of these things online and none really helped. I had a gauntlet of blood tests run that found nothing. I was hopeless. Other than my skin, I still felt completely healthy otherwise and was stumped. To summarize, the health issues were rashes on my skin that would start wet on Sunday and Monday and dry out to have extremely flakey skin by Wednesday. To treat this I used about a large container of Lubriderm on my whole body once a week. The biggest problems for my skin rashes were (in order starting with the worst area) my lower back, chest, shoulders, scalp, back of knees, elbows, scalp, neck, and stomach. My face would swell and become red around my eyes and I would have blisters on my lower legs. If I sat down and scratched my head, dead skin would pile up around me.
Eventually, my mother talked me into seeing a chiropractor who practices whole body medicine. I really don’t believe in what these people do, but again after spending close to $10,000 on getting my house treated for mold and seeing 4 different dermatologists and three different allergists, what was another $50 to get a different opinion? After one meeting, I was asked to take several vitamins and other over the counter pills (fish oil, vitamin B, Allerfree, Antronex, Bionics and dermatrophin). I had also been taking zyrtec every day for about 2 months at this point. This helped a little but not completely so I went back. At this point I was asked to stay off of gluten for three weeks. The next weekend, I still had a bad reaction and went back for one last meeting. I was told to stick to the course and continue taking the vitamins and stay away from gluten. Since that last meeting, I have been about 98% better. My skin is back to a normal color, no swelling, no blisters and only minor occasional itching. It has been about a month and my energy and outlook on life is sooo much better. I was very skeptical that gluten was the problem (is gluten sensitivity even a real thing or just crap?) and if I read it on here I probably would not have trusted it. However, just try it for a few weeks if nothing else has worked, you may be amazed in the difference.
I have gotten a skin biopsy to see if it is dermatitis herpetiformis. Even if it is not and the dermatologist again tells me it’s just eczema, I know it is not and caused by gluten. The diet is tough at first, but for a few weeks I just stuck with meats, fish and fresh veggies and it is not too difficult. If you are going through this, believe me, I know how miserable it is, if there are any additional questions email me at ***@****, Id love to try to help.
I had this also. I am so frustrated that dermatologists are not diagnosticians. They don't do biopsies. If they did, I could have been diagnosed in 1989. If they had helped me with my rashes by biopsying them back then, I would have trusted them when I too was struck with DH. Instead I stayed home and hid (I worked at home) while my arm got worse and worse. It finally healed when I got a job working outside and got vitamin D from the sun, but I'm sure it was DH that went away for a while. After I had my gallbladder removed, my Celiac became full-blown and my surgeon told me I had Celiac. Nobody else had told me that. I have been gluten-free now since 2009. The rare times I get cross-contamination, I will get an itchy blister on the same arm.
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