Living with Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) can be challenging and over 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with HS each year.1 Even though it’s a common disease, many people don’t get the right treatment leading to further complications. To see the early symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa and how to treat it, start an online search today.
What Exactly is Hidradenitis Suppurativa?
Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that affects the apocrine sweat glands, which are located in areas of the body that have hair follicles, such as the armpits, groin, and buttocks. The condition is characterized by painful, pus-filled bumps and nodules that can burst, leading to the formation of abscesses and tunnels under the skin. HS can be a debilitating condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.
What Causes Hidradenitis Suppurativa?
The exact cause of HS is not fully understood, but researchers believe that a combination of factors may contribute to its development. One theory suggests that HS is caused by an abnormal response of the immune system to an infection or inflammation of the hair follicles. Others believe that HS may be caused by a genetic predisposition, hormonal imbalances, or environmental factors such as smoking, obesity, and stress.
What Are The Treatment Options?
While there is no cure for HS, there are various treatment options available that can help manage the symptoms of the condition. Treatment options may vary depending on the severity of the symptoms and the areas of the body affected. Some common treatment options for HS include:
- Topical treatments. Topical treatments such as antibiotics and corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and prevent infection.
- Oral medications. Oral medications such as antibiotics, hormonal therapy, and immune-suppressing drugs may be prescribed to help reduce inflammation and prevent the formation of abscesses.
- Surgery. In severe cases, surgical interventions such as incision and drainage, laser surgery, and skin grafting may be necessary to remove infected tissue and promote healing.
- Lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, smoking cessation, and stress management may also be recommended to help manage the symptoms of HS.
Is It Linked To Lifestyle Choices?
While lifestyle choices may not directly cause HS, they can exacerbate the symptoms of the condition. Smoking, for example, can worsen inflammation and lead to more severe and frequent flare-ups. Obesity can also contribute to the development of HS, as the excess weight can cause friction and irritation in areas of the body that are prone to sweating. Managing stress through exercise, relaxation techniques, and therapy may also help reduce the severity of HS symptoms.2 That being said, it is important to start a healthy lifestyle. Early treatment can also help prevent HS from getting worse and improve your quality of life.
Can HS Be Hereditary?
HS has been shown to run in families, suggesting that genetics may play a role in its development. Individuals with a family history of HS may be more likely to develop the condition themselves. It is essential for individuals with a family history of HS to be aware of the early signs and symptoms of the condition, as early intervention can help prevent the development of more severe symptoms.3
What Are The Early Warning Signs?
The early signs of HS may include the appearance of red, tender bumps or small pea-sized nodules in areas of the body where there are hair follicles. These bumps may be painful and may persist for weeks or months, leading to the formation of larger, inflamed lesions. Over time, these lesions may develop into abscesses, which can be extremely painful and may require surgical drainage.4
What Can Help To Prevent Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Preventing Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) can be a challenge because its exact cause is unknown. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing HS or to prevent it from getting worse if you already have it.
- Practice good hygiene: Keeping your skin clean and dry can help prevent HS. Make sure to shower regularly, especially after exercising or sweating. Use a mild soap and avoid scrubbing your skin too hard.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing: Tight-fitting clothes and synthetic fabrics can irritate your skin and increase your risk of HS. Opt for loose-fitting, breathable clothes made of natural fibers like cotton or bamboo.
- Avoid shaving: Shaving can irritate your skin and cause HS to flare up. If possible, avoid shaving the areas where you tend to develop HS.
- Quit smoking: Smoking can worsen HS and increase your risk of developing other skin conditions. If you smoke, quitting can be one of the best things you can do for your skin health.
- Manage stress: Stress can trigger HS flares, so finding ways to manage your stress levels can be helpful. Exercise, yoga, meditation, and talking to a therapist are all effective ways to manage stress.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help prevent HS by boosting your immune system and promoting overall skin health. Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your diet.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of HS, it is essential to seek medical attention to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. To see the early symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa and how to treat it, start an online search today.