Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic skin condition characterized by the formation of fluid-filled lesions and scars on the skin. The condition is extremely painful. It can wreak havoc on a patient’s emotional and mental well-being too.
While hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic ailment, there are various ways to manage and minimize the symptoms. With proper treatment, patients can expect to lead happy and normal lives.
In this article, we’ll explore different types of natural hidradenitis suppurativa treatments. But let’s first delve deeper into the causes and symptoms of the disease.
What Causes Hidradenitis Suppurativa?
The precise cause of hidradenitis suppurativa isn’t known. However, medical researchers have established that certain people are predisposed to the disease due to the following factors:
- Smoking tobacco
- Being overweight
- Having a family history of HS
Women are more likely than men to be affected by HS. Also, the disease is more prevalent among people in their 20s and 30s. It’s far less common in pre-pubescent and menopausal individuals.
It suggests that the development of HS might be linked to sex hormones. However, this hasn’t been established through any concrete study.
It’s worth noting here that patients develop hidradenitis suppurativa due to the blocking and inflammation of hair follicles. The abscesses are more common in areas where the skin touches skin or rubs together. Also, these areas have more oil and sweat glands.
Most people affected by HS develop fluid-filled bumps in the following areas:
- Buttocks and anal region
- Groin and genitals
- Under the breast
The boil-like lesions could also spread to the inner thighs and nape of the neck.
What Are the Symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa?
HS is characterized by the appearance of a pea-sized fluid-filled lump underneath the skin. It could last for a few days before disappearing or rupturing to ooze out pus. This is followed by the development of new painful lumps around the affected area.
Lack of timely treatment can lead to the growth of bigger lumps spread across a larger area of the body. These lesions often break open to leak pus and emanate an unpleasant smell. Eventually, they could lead to the formation of narrow tunnels (sinus tracts) under the skin that can rupture and leak pus.
Apart from these symptoms, patients are also at risk of developing secondary bacterial infections. Moreover, the pain associated with HS can be debilitating enough to affect their mobility. Also, it could take a toll on their self-esteem and psychological well-being.
How to Treat Hidradenitis Suppurativa?
HS is a life-long disease that’ll continue to recur at various stages. But the right treatment and pain management techniques can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life.
Medical professionals often prescribe oral or topical antibiotics to treat and prevent secondary infections. Even if a secondary infection doesn’t occur, mild antibiotics can help heal the lesions and reduce inflammation.
Natural Treatments for Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Apart from these treatments, patients can also use various natural remedies to help manage HS symptoms.
the following hidradenitis suppurativa treatments are effective:
- Dietary changes
- Weight loss
- Tea tree oil
- Stress reduction
- Hot compress
- Smoking cessation
- Antibacterial soap
Let’s take a closer look at how these treatments work and whether they’re effective.
The key is to eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, such as leafy green vegetables, oily fishes and nuts and seeds. Including organic whole foods in the diet is also a good idea.
Additionally, avoiding dairy products and sugar from their diet has worked for patients. A gluten-free diet can also help reduce inflammation and control HS symptoms.
People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop hidradenitis suppurativa. That’s why it is important to follow a proper exercise regime for weight loss.
As with obesity, people who smoke are predisposed to HS. Also, they’re more likely to experience severe symptoms and complications from the disease.
Apart from dietary changes and lifestyle modifications, a wide array of natural topical treatments can also be used to relieve the pain, inflammation and swelling associated with HS.
Data indicates that turmeric, tea tree oil and honey are particularly effective. All these ingredients are known for their antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Patients should use a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, before applying these ingredients to their skin. Adding a few drops of neem oil to the mixture can also help heal the lesions.
Alternatively, many patients have also experienced relief by applying aloe vera gel to the affected areas of the skin. While it may not accelerate the healing process, aloe vera creates a cooling sensation, thus reducing pain and discomfort.
Bathing with antibacterial soap or antiseptic body wash can help prevent secondary infections. Also, it’s effective in healing the lumps and tunnels on the skin. Patients should consult an experienced dermatologist to find out whether the remedy is going to work for them.
Applying a warm heating pad to the affected area helps minimize the pain. It can also reduce swelling. Patients are advised to avoid using a wet washcloth soaked in warm water. Moisture can aggravate the lesions and lead to further infections.
Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, zinc can help manage hidradenitis suppurativa. Patients should consider including zinc-rich foods, such as beans, nuts and eggs in their diet. Taking zinc supplements is also a good idea.
Use Natural Treatments With Caution
When medication and surgery don’t offer relief from hidradenitis suppurativa, natural remedies might seem like a better option. While these treatments offer relief from HS symptoms and accelerate healing, patients should consult their physicians/dermatologists to understand the benefits and risks.
Have you used any other natural treatments to manage hidradenitis suppurativa? Share your recommendations in the comments section below.