Is there a link between Celiac Disease and Eczema?

Girl in jeans sitting on a wooden floor.

Over a year ago, I started with what I thought was “dry skin”.  Patches of flaky areas that would get red after I showered or was overheated appeared out of nowhere. So I began slathering myself with everything I could find…coconut oil, Vaseline, Neosporin, body butter, and olive oil (yes, I smelled like a salad). It started to get awkward when I bought Bag Balm from Amazon. In case you were wondering, Bag Balm is used on cow udders. Apparently cows get dry skin too. To top it off, my husband and kids started to complain about the continuous oil slick left on everything I touched.

Summer arrived and (again) I felt totally self-conscious about wearing shorts. When the weather was really hot and humid, the dry patches would get bright red. I’m Irish, so imagine my super pale legs with super unattractive red blotches. I also had random patches on my back and one arm. So I wore long skirts and maxi dresses to cover up. When I did wear shorts or hit the beach, I was certain everyone (even the lifeguards supposed to save people and look out for killer sharks) were looking at my skin. This sucked.

I finally gave in and went to the dermatologist. I was convinced I had either a flesh eating virus or “old person shingles”. Luckily, the doc diagnosed me with Eczema and prescribed an ointment. I’ve never had Eczema, but know it’s pretty common, so I filled the prescription and expected the dry skin to be gone in a week or two. Two weeks passed, then a month, then two months. I used the prescription ointment religiously, but the red patches didn’t lessen or change.

Realizing something wasn’t working (it only took me 1.5 years to admit defeat), I started researching Eczema. Eczema is the body’s immune system going into overdrive due to an allergen. Sound familiar? A lot like “Celiac Disease (gluten-sensitive enteropathy), sometimes called sprue or coeliac, an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.”

I’m headed back to the dermatologist next week for a second look. My biggest fear is that because I have Celiac Disease (diagnosed almost 13 years ago), that my immune system is shot. And my shot immune system has oh so kindly opened up the opportunity for other autoimmune disorders to come knocking.

Do you have other autoimmune disorders in addition to Celiac Disease? Did they appear after your Celiac Disease diagnosis? I’d also love to hear if you have any suggestions on Eczema treatments (unless you swear by Bag Balm).

1 Comment

  1. Hi Maureen,

    It’s possible that you’re getting gluten via some product that you think is safe. Sometimes continued low levels of gluten eventually cause symptoms/issues that one has not experienced before. It’s also possible that you’re reacting to something else in your diet, like dairy or eggs. Dr. Rodney Ford from New Zealand has done a lot of work in the eczema area. He has written books on this subject, but he also has articles on his site that you’ll want to check out.

    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/47087

    http://drrodneyford.com/eclinic-news/ten-steps-to-fix-eczemadermatitis.html

    http://drrodneyford.com/eclinic-news/gluten-legs-common-cause-of-eczema.html

    Hope this info helps, Maureen!
    Shirley

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