What is Hidradenitis Suppurativa?

Hidradenitis suppurativa, or HS, is a chronic skin disease that is believed to affect up to 1.4% of the global population. It manifests as blackheads, red bumps and pus-filled cysts on the skin, typically in the armpits, groin and anal area. 

As the disease progresses tunnels form under skin and connect the cysts. HS can be extremely painful and embarrassing. Some speculate that a big part of the lack of a cure and treatment options for HS is due to many sufferers not getting an official diagnosis.

While the cause of HS is unknown, it is thought to be linked to genetics, hormones and inflammation. For me it definitely seems directly related to diet and weight.

There is no cure for hidradenitis suppurativa, but some treatment options are available to help manage symptoms. If you think you might have HS, please see your doctor for diagnosis and to discuss your options.

What are the symptoms of HS?

Hidradenitis Suppurativa can cause a great deal of discomfort and the symptoms can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:

  • Persistent, painful bumps under the skin
  • Swelling and redness around the bumps
  • Inflamed, pus-filled bumps that rupture and drain
  • Scarring

Luckily for now I work from home which makes dealing with the pain a little easier

How is HS treated?

The first line of defense against hidradenitis suppurativa is usually a prescription antimicrobial or antibiotic ointment. If the bumps and lesions do not respond to this treatment, your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics.

Surgery is a last resort option for treating hidradenitis suppurativa and I have heard that the HS just pops up somewhere else.

Most people that put HS into remission seem to do it by making healthy lifestyle changes (diet, quit smoking, low carbs, etc.) and elimination diets. I have personally had great success at times through dieting.

I once did a 30 day juice fast to lose weight for my brother’s wedding and it almost disappeared completely! I lost 28 lbs and the improvement to my symptoms in only 30 days was shocking.

What is the prognosis for people with HS?

That can be difficult to answer as the condition can vary greatly from person to person. In general, however, the prognosis for someone with hidradenitis suppurativa is good. The condition is usually not life threatening, and with proper treatment, most people are able to live relatively normal lives.

How can you support someone with HS?

Be understanding if they withdraw a little from parties/family events. It not only has physical aspects, it can also be emotionally draining. And, don’t take it personally if they don’t want to go to the beach, attend pool parties, etc. Just be mindful of their condition as many aspects of their life can be affected.

Hang in there, it can get better!

While hidradenitis suppurativa can be a difficult condition to live with, there are treatments available that can help lessen the symptoms and improve your quality of life. With the right treatment plan and healthy lifestyle changes, you may find that your hidradenitis suppurativa is manageable and doesn’t have as much of an impact on your day-to-day life as you thought it would.

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