Starting tomorrow, February 1st, I'm planning to eliminate gluten from my diet for the next 6 weeks. I know that gluten-free diets are trendy, but I have a practical reason for trying it: I've begun to suspect I might have dermatitis herpetiformis, the skin manifestation of celiac disease.
I've had terrible itchy rashes since my late teens, and the one dermatologist that I've seen (years ago) dismissed it as eczema with barely a glance. I haven't been comfortable wearing shorts or dresses (without hose or tights) for years now because my knees and ankles look terrible. And the itching is enough to drive you mad. Recently I've started getting patches in some new places (on my thighs and butt) and I'm almost desperate to find a way to stop it! All of the symptoms of DH seem to mesh with my experience, and they say it's very often misdiagnosed as eczema. Apparently very few people have digestive issues along with the skin rashes, so most doctors don't recognize it as celiac disease.
Getting an appointment with a dermatologist around here takes months, and I don't want to wait that long to find out if I do, indeed, have DH. All the sources of information I've found say not to eliminate gluten without having a skin biopsy first, because if you notice improvement you'll have to go back to eating gluten for 6 weeks to get a reliable diagnosis, but I don't care! It would take at least that long (probably longer) to arrange to get a skin biopsy done, and I might be wrong anyway. It could very well be simple eczema, and if so all I will have lost is a few weeks.
Luckily, I'm not a picky eater, and the main thing I'll be giving up will be convenience. I'm a little worried about that, but as long as I plan well and prepare all of my own food, it should be okay. A whole lot of processed simple carbs will be eliminated from my diet, which can only be a good thing, right?
(Guess what I'm having for dinner the night before I begin? Pancakes with maple syrup and sausage!! :) I love carbs and purposely chose the beginning of February so that my experiment will be over by my birthday at the end of March. Of course, if my skin clears up, I may have to go gluten free forever, but that would be a reasonable price to pay for clear, healthy skin!)
Does anyone here have experience with eliminating gluten from your diet? Or undiagnosed celiac disease? I would love to hear any thoughts or advice you might offer on the subject.
And please wish me luck!