Natural Remedies for Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Natural Treatments for HS
Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a rare skin condition that effects less than 1% of the population. Also known as Acne Inversa this non-contagious condition effects many areas of the body where approcrine sweat glands and sebacious glands are present such as the undearms, groin, underneath the breast as well as the face. For many years I have suffered with this chronic condition that can be quite painful during flare ups and can also cause a lot scars as well as tunnels of inflammation underneath the skin. Over the years I have seen quite many doctors in three countries, Turkey, USA and Brazil and although I have not found the cure for this very unknown condition I did learn few natural tips here and there that have helped me create some relief. In this article I will share with you guys all of the natural tips that I have learned and that I often use to relief pain and control the flare ups. Sadly I cannot guarantee any results of these are methods, herbs, natural remedies and food intake that I often use and although I find them very helpful to me, I strongly recommend that you seek medical attention as well, as I often have to rely on traditional medicine and medications to control my condition.
Las updated: 05/01/14
1 - Hot compresses or Warm showers
When I notice that my HS is flaring up I immediately incorporate hot showers or hot compresses in my daily routine. I normally do the baths or compresses as warm as my skin can stand and I often do 3 to 4 baths a day for about 10 minutes each to help reduce swelling and relieve the pain and help soften the skin making it easier for the infection to arise to the surface and heal. I find that the more hot baths I take the faster I can see the purple heads which are an indication that the flare up wound will finally burst bringing instant pain relief. Since HS can be a very painful condition and can cause some mental distress as well I do make my baths very relaxing. First I clean the bathtub very well with clorox to make sure that there is no bacteria deposited in the tub, I prepare the shower or bathtub temperature with lots of care, I prepare my clean towels with love in case some bursting happen in the process, I put on some very relaxing and spiritual music, and I often light up a scented candle or two to help me relax and enjoy the bath or compress the best that I can. During the process I try to visualized great things and I often visualized myself cured so that the positive energy takes over my body and helps the wound itself heal. Although HS can be very painful I do my best to make my bath or hot compress routine as relaxing as I can and I am certain that that helps my condition while at the same time it makes me feel special and cared for.
My relaxing music favorites
My favorite CDs that I use to relax while taking hot baths or while applying my warm compressed to treat my HS. It heals me heal my soul and distracts from the chronic pain.
2 - Clean the area with antibacterial soap
Another very important tip that I made sure to incorporate in my daily routine is to clean the area at least 2 times a day with an antibacterial soap. While taking a shower or bath I normally use the liquid antibacterial soap called Hibiclens and I wash all the areas that I have a present flare up and in addition I do a preventive work where I wash all the areas that have Apocrine sweat and sebaceous glans with the soap as well in order to prevent my HS from spreading to any other area of my body. As we know HS can happen in the groin, underarms, inner thighs, under breast, face and can spread to other areas of the body.
In my case my HS has only focused on my inner thighs and in order to keep it from spreading I make sure to wash all the other areas of my body with an antibacterial soap specially when I have a flare up and an open wound. The soap helps maintains the effected area very clean and removes any live bacteria that can be on the skin. In addition to this preventive work I also have my husband wash himself with hibiclens as well specially in the genital area before and after we have relations since it prevents him from passing any skin bacteria to me. We must remember that Hidradenitis suppurativa is not a contagious disease, but the people who suffers from the condition often lacks immunization against a certain type of bacteria, therefore making sure that the surface is clean and free from bacteria can be very effective against preventing flare ups and against preventing the spread of the condition to other areas.
Hibiclens at Amazon
Since I have Hidradenitis Suppurativa and I often need Hibiclens I find that in the pharmacies this antibacterial soap can be quite expensive. since I am using it in an extensive part of your body I go thru it relatively fast so in order to save a little a make sure to buy it in bulk in amazon.com. There I am able to buy the one gallon bottle for a little more than the price of 8oz in the pharmacy. I transfer into smaller bottles and my galloon last me about one full year. Most importantly it helps me keep my HS areas bacteria free and as a consequence it prevents flare ups.
3 - Wear loose fitting clothes
Another great way to prevent flare ups from coming to is avoid any type of friction in the area effected. In my case the Hidradenitis Suppurativa is present in my inner tights, so for years I have abandoned some of the beloved outfits in my wardrobe and have learned to adapt my lifestyle to treat my condition. I have personally traded underwear, jeans, shorts and any other type of tight fitting pants for skirts, dresses, loose fitting cotton pants and overalls and even tough my style had to adapt to my condition, I am a happier person now as I did feel a decrease in flare ups.
Here is a quick picture of myself trying some new outfits to add to my wardrobe! I must say I feel more feminine now than I ever did since the condition has pushed me to wear more dresses and skirts whereas before HS I was totally a jean person.
4 - A compress of Yams
Another home remedy that I often use to control a flare up is a compress of Yams. Yams are not very common in the USA and I often find this interesting root vegetable in chinese and oriental markets as they are an integral part of their diet and have also been used for its medicinal properties. It is recommended to apply a cataplasm of yams for skin eruptions since it is believed that this root has the property of "sucking" the impurities of the skin. I often use yams to treat my Hidradenitis Suppurativa when I have flare ups and most often before the "bump" or "bumps" explode. I find that the yams help drive the infection into the skin and help with the appearance of the black or purple heads which is an indication that the wound will burst. To prepare my yams compress I first peel the yams and wash it really well with warm water. I then grind the yams with a cheese grinder on its finest to create a paste like substance, I lay down in bed and instead of applying the yams directly into my skin I place a gauze or a very thin paper towel into my skin and I then place the Yams above the gauze so when it dries it becomes easy to remove. In certain areas where the infection is not warm or open I do apply the yams directly into the skin in order to help clean my pores and in order to prevent the HS from flaring up in other locations. It is recommended to leave the yam compress in the skin for about an hour and if you find it effective you can change compresses every hour for at the most 4 hours a day. I often feel little tickles and it may itch a little, so I normally do my Yam compress once a day for 1 hour only. In case the abscess erupts during the compress I notice that the yams start to get dirty and I get a lot of pressure and pain relief but at that moment I remove the compress and I then go directly into the warm shower to wash it off. In addition to the compresses I also incorporated yams into my diet as this root is very rich in iron and is often recommended for anyone who is anemic.
5 - Maintain a natural alkaline diet
After many years fighting HS I realized that food intake was one of the most important factors in controlling my flare ups and I found that a combination of 20% acid and 80% alkaline foods works for me. I reason why I adopted this diet is because I learned that bacteria tends to survive in a blood that is more acidic and a more alkaline blood makes life less sustainable for bacteria so I thought it would be a very good idea to maintain my blood stream more alkaline since my flare ups often were caused by bacterial infections. since I adopted this diet I my flare ups have gradually decreased to a point that my quality of life is almost 100% back. I feel very blessed and more in control of the condition and I still get to eat everything that I love but in a moderate fashion and keeping in my my goal to maintain my blood more alkaline as well and picking foods that are in the alkaline list. I included above a chart of the acid, neutral foods as well as some alkaline foods so it is easy to pick and choose from. I keep mine attached to my fridge! Just know that this diet has worked well for me but since HS is complex condition it is often important to talk to your doctor about any dietary changes specially if you are under any medication. I find that doctors often do not see any relationship between Hidradenitis suppurativa flare ups and food intake but given my personal experience I strongly believe that there is
An author that have inspired me to have a positive attitude. - Books that can help you heal
After dealing with my Hs for over 5 years of constant flare ups I realized that my mental state was becoming weaker and weaker and my hope was slowly diminishing. A great friend who also suffers from HS but managed to control it since 2009 introduced me to the books and videos of Louise L. Hay and since then this incribedle lady has become my day to day inspiration. I often read her books, watch her videos when experiencing a flare up and repeat her affirmations. Although I have started many treatments I noticed that with her help and the help of many doctors my flare ups which normally lasted 20 days are now becoming shorter and shorter. Some rising and exploding within 48 to 72 hours and more and more I see my life and my daily routine coming back to normal. Although doctors have not yet found the medical cure for this condition, I now believe that our minds are very strong and can heal our body on its own and it has been an amazing process for me to see my condition get better and get more under control than the passed few years. Each flare up which used to be strong and more long-lasting than the other is not getting weaker and faster than the previous one and I must say that is a great improvement and I am truly happy and thankful for it:) Here are some of her books as a reading suggestion for anyone suffering with Hidradenitis suppurativa or any other condition. You can also find some of her amazing videos online as well.
Louis L Ray video. My healing inspiration
A video that has inspired me to see my condition from a brighter angle. hope it inspires you as well!
Do you have Hidradenitis Suppurativa - Were you able to control your flare ups and how?
This HS poll is open to anyone and your participation is truly appreciated. In case You would like to share with us any home remedies that worked for you or helped a loved one feel free to leave us a comment. Any natural remedies and tips are truly appreciated:)