Gluten Free Guerrillas

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Our Coeliac Question of the Week: Dr Rodney Ford answers…



Our Question of the week is answered by Dr. Rodney Ford!

A brief overview:

Dr Rodney Ford is well known amongst the Coeliac community and his medical peers as New Zealand’s expert Paediatric gatroenterologist, allergist and nutrition consultant. He is also a champion of Coeliac awareness and passionate advocate of gluten free living and penned the book ‘The Gluten Syndrome’.

Our question this week..
arose as we’ve had a lot of on-going queries on our Health Site HealthUnlocked and our facebook page ref skin problems and Coeliac Disease.

So this week we at Gluten Free Guerrillas ask Dr. Rodney Ford…

Q: When will my skin feel better?

The classic skin disease associated with gluten is dermatitis herpetiformis (DH).  This is a very itchy skin rash, it is a skin inflammation having an appearance similar to herpes with little blisters at times.  About 80% of people with this condition also have the intestinal gut damage of coeliac disease.  However, many skin sufferers may not be aware of any gut symptoms.  DH has been reported in children as young as one year of age.  However, it is mostly found in people in their early adult life.  But it can strike at any time.  Indeed it can present in coeliac’s who have started a gluten free diet.

DH is slow to heal on a gluten free diet.  Usually symptoms will go away within months or years.  However, in some people it may take a decade to feel fully better.  Being strictly gluten-free is very important. The risks of developing the associated illness of DH, such as other autoimmune diseases, decrease significantly on a gluten-free diet.

Eczema is also associated with coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity.  In my clinic I would see a coeliac present with eczema about one a month.  When they go on a gluten free diet, often the skin clears within weeks, but then relapses.  It will then take six months to a couple of years before the skin fully heals.  This is probably because of the immune complex disease from IgG Gliadin in the skin.  This is in contrast to the DH disease which is an IgA immune complex.

On a gluten free diet, skin does take quite a long time to heal.  It is a matter of being patience.  Again it is important to be strictly gluten free.  Even small amounts of gluten can trigger a relapse of these gluten-related skin conditions.

By Dr Rodney Ford, Author of The Gluten Syndrome


We’d like to thank Dr. Rodney Ford for answering our question and helping to widen the debate and awareness of Coeliac Disease for the gluten free community worldwide!

Discover more…

Dr Rodney Ford, Author of The Gluten Syndrome


The Gluten Syndrome is now available as an eBook revised new edition, 2011 see:

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We’d love you to help us spread the word that a gluten free diet is for life for Coeliacs, no ‘ifs no buts’. However, although the saying goes that ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ we’d really appreciate it if we collaborated together to raise gluten free awareness by you quoting us as the source of the article. We’ll promise to do the same. After all social media works best when we all play nicely online.


Gluten Free Guerrillas Team

PS Let us know what you’d like us to feature as one of our regular questions in future? 

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