Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a severe skin condition characterized by large recurrent abscesses with discharge, deep inflammation, frequent infections, and scarring. It causes a lot of pain and often impairs the person’s range of movement, but is not contagious. Hidradenitis Suppurativa typically alternates between periods of remission and flare-ups. Here are some top tips for the management and treatment of Hidradenitis Suppurativa:
1. Quit Smoking! More than 80% of Hidradenitis Suppurativa patients are smokers and this habit is known to be both a causative and aggravating factor. Smoking cessation always brings about improvements in this condition.
2. Lose excess body weight. If you are overweight, you will have more frictional forces in areas where there is skin-to-skin contact, and this will aggravate Hidradenitis Suppurativa and make it harder to treat.
3. Avoid excessive shaving of the area. Shaving further irritates the affected area and can worse the condition.
4. Apply ice packs to the area. The cold will act as an analgesic and will reduce the inflammation, which can improve the condition and provide symptomatic relief.
5. Eat more fish, and less meat. Fish, especially oily ones like salmon and mackerel, are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which help the body combat inflammation. On the other hand, red meat contains saturated fat, which causes inflammation. Be keeping your diet high in anti-inflammatory foods, your condition will improve.
6. Wear loose-fitting clothing. Tight clothing is both a causative and aggravating factor, as it increases frictional forces in the area and keeps the area humid. Opt for loose-fitting clothing instead and try to keep yourself cool.
7. Find a way to deal with stress. Again, stress is both a causative and aggravating factor, and is one of the main triggers of flare-ups. Make it a point to find the time to do pleasurable relaxing activities and possibly talk with a counselor to help you find ways to deal with stress and anxiety.
8. Get lots of vitamin C! This vitamin not only boosts the immune system but also speeds up wound healing because it stimulates the formation of collagen. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, kiwi, strawberries, bell peppers and dark green vegetables. Alternatively, take a daily supplement.
9. Use tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is an essential oil with strong antiseptic and skin-enhancing properties. Put some drops of tea tree oil on a ball of cotton and apply to the affected area for a few minutes each day.
10. Seek emotional support. Hidradenitis Suppurativa can be very hard psychologically, and some persons end up alienating themselves. Talk to your trusted family members or friends about it, and get in touch with a local support group such as HS-USA and HS Friends UK. Talking with a counselor can also help you to deal with the emotional burden of the diseases.