When I first started my career as a Paediatrician, I used to feel dread when a child like this, with severe eczema all over his/her body, came into my clinic to see me. Back then I didn’t know what to do. I had been taught (by dermatologists) that the only thing to do was to prescribe creams, potions and steroids, in the hope that this might help – and if it didn’t help, well, just carry on with the same advice, with more of the same, or stronger steroids. So that is what I used to do. These children would scratch until their skin bled, they couldn’t sleep, they had painful cracks in their skin, their creams would often sting and stop being useful. They were miserable. There seemed no hope of a cure. Older children would sometimes say that they would rather be dead than live in their horrible skin.
But there is some good news for you. I now have the answer. After investigating this boy thoroughly, (skin tests/blood tests) it turned out that he had very high levels of “Anti-gliadin-Antibody”. This meant that he was likely to be gluten-sensitive. So he went onto a strict gluten-free diet. With a great result. He had “gluten legs”.
This photo is taken 3 months later – he has been transformed. He is no longer itchy, his skin is healing, he is sleeping through the night, and he has better self-image with a positive outlook. He is smiling. He is now happy. He no longer needs steroid creams – only moisturisers. He thinks that it is a miracle.
Gluten Legs – common cause of eczema
A simple change in his diet did what his skin-specialist had failed to achieve in the preceding few years. This boy had never previously been tested for allergy or food intolerances. His skin is now has almost completely healed. The missing piece of his eczema puzzle was foods.
Most eczema in children is triggered by food
In my Clinic, I have found that most children with eczema have a food trigger. In older children this is usually gluten.
These are the 10 strategies/steps that I use to sort out the eczema puzzle:
1. Listen to the whole eczema story and work out any triggers;
2. Do skin-prick-tests to discover any immediate food allergy or environment allergy;
3. Order blood tests for immediate allergy and immune function (if warranted);
4. Get blood tests done for gluten sensitivity (depends on age);
5. Work out an appropriate, low food-allergen diet;
6. Deal with dust mites allergy and other environmental allergens;
7. Start probiotic treatment (to switch off allergy);
8. Consider if antihistamines are needed: for symptom relief and asthma prevention;
9. Review the use of moisturisers, soap substitutes and steroid creams;
10. Prevent eczema and asthma for future children.
Unfortunately, many medical doctors remain unaware that eczema is commonly triggered by food allergies. So I have written a book to help children like this boy. My hope is that I can help many thousands of patients to overcome their frustrations with eczema. Eczema is a huge problem but usually has simple solutions.