Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease that causes recurrent and painful nodules, boils, abscesses, and lesions of the skin.
It can occur almost anywhere on the body, but most commonly on the groin, thighs, buttocks, and armpits.
There is no known cause of HS, but it is thought to be linked with abnormalities in the immune system.
Some studies have shown it to be hereditary and 1/3 of patients have a family history of the condition. Doctors believe the primary mechanical problem is follicular occlusion.
HS can be very debilitating. It causes chronic pain, constant draining sores, and fatigue. But you can live a full and happy life, despite HS.
In this article, we share some tips for living your best life with HS.
Mind your mental health
HS affects us physically but also can take a big toll on our mental health. So, it is important to mind ourselves, and make sure we get the support we need.
That can be through peer support groups or talking to a friend or family. Finding ways to manage stress is very helpful too, as stress can make HS symptoms worsen.
People with HS often shy away from social occasions, so it is important to let people know what is going on, so they have a better understanding of the disease and the impact it can have on your life. Reach out and seek support.
Mind your physical health too!
It can be disheartening when a doctor tells you to lose weight, or stop smoking because there is a misconception that these are the sole factors that cause HS. While they may contribute to HS formation, it is not your fault that you have this disease.
Having said that, the healthier you are, the better. People with Hidradenitis Suppurativa are at risk of different metabolic diseases, like diabetes or heart disease, the ad also an increased risk of infection due to open sores.
Taking care of your health is a good idea in general. Try to maintain a healthy weight and include wholesome foods in your diet. Reduce sugar intake and increase fruit and vegetables.
Try to get some exercise. And mind your sleep – sleep is important for reducing inflammation in the body, but it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep when you are in pain.
You may need to take a break from some of the things you love to do, like swimming or running for example when you have an HS flare-up, but you can adapt your lifestyle and find new things to enjoy.
Gentle exercise can be good, learning to stretch your body by doing simple yoga, or even going for a walk can be beneficial.
You might need to adjust your working hours to facilitate treatments. Some days you may need to work from home.
Lots of people are working from home nowadays, so maybe find a job that facilitates that, and you can be more flexible with your time.
Living with HS is a rollercoaster. The flare-ups can be unpredictable. Sometimes they last for a long time, and when you think it is getting batter, a new one may appear.
It is important to learn coping skills and learn how to manage any negative thoughts you may have. If you need extra support, there is no shame in that. We all struggle sometimes in life, just don’t go it alone.
About The Author:
Suzanne Moloney is an HS patient from Ireland. She has been living with HS since her early teens and is working to raise awareness of the disease and help people with HS all over the world.