The term eczema is applied to a wide range of rashes that are typically red, itchy, and raised and can occur anywhere on the body. Eczematous rashes are common; one third of the world's population has experienced or will experience an episode at some time in their lives. It is an especially common problem in children, with 30 percent of preschool children and 15 to 20 percent of school kids having eczematous rashes. Eczematous rashes doubled or tripled between 1995 and 2008. Because eczematous rashes are, to some degree, driven by allergic processes, other allergic phenomena typically accompany eczema, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, and sinus congestion, acid reflux, eosinophilic esophagitis (esophageal inflammation), infantile colic, and allergic enterocolitis (small intestinal and colon inflammation).
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People with celiac disease are three times more prone to eczema than people without it, while relatives of people with celiac disease (who don't have celiac disease themselves) are twice as prone. Because eczema is common outside of celiac disease, there is no shortage of wild theories that blame this chronic, annoying, and sometimes disfiguring condition on everything from dust mites to neurosis to excessive cleanliness.
As with any condition that is common and "unexplained," we should always ask whether consumption of the seeds of grasses might be at fault. Eczema has indeed been associated with various foods, including peanuts, dairy, soy, fish, and eggs, as well as grains. Wheat, rye, and barley contain a smorgasbord of proteins that have been associated with eczema, asthma, and other forms of allergies. It remains unclear just what proportion of people with eczema can blame grains. Judging by the number of people who report relief from eczematous rashes within five to seven days of giving up wheat and/or all grains, evidence of the effect wheat has upon this condition is substantial.