Hidradenitis suppurativa is a persistent skin disease that is also known as acne inversa (However it is totally different from the regular acne). It was first described in 1839 and has a worldwide prevalence of about 1 to 4% of the population. It is more common in women than in men, and generally occurs between the ages of 20 to 30.
Hidradenitis suppurativa occurs in areas of the body where there is skin-to-skin contact and where sweat glands are present. Mainly, these areas are the armpits, groin, anal region and buttocks, scrotum, and breasts.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa Causes
The exact cause of Hidradenitis suppurativa is still debated but there are a number of leading theories. One of the main theories is that fluctuating hormone levels are to blame. In fact it is often noticed that using the contraceptive pill for 12 months or more improves the condition. Another leading theory is that frictional trauma is a cause.
Bacterial infections are found in the infected areas. However, it is not clear whether the infection is what causes the condition or whether the infection is the result of it. Similarly, although inflammation of the hair follicles (folliculitis) is observed in all patients, it is not known whether these are the cause or a result of the condition.
There appears to be a relationship between Hidradenitis suppurativa and diabetes, insulin resistance, acne vulgaris, and cystic acne. In addition, some individuals can have a genetic predisposition.
Lithium use and smoking have been found to trigger the disease.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa Symptoms
Hidradenitis suppurativa generally starts after puberty, between the ages of 20 to 30. In the early stages, the disease will start as a single nodule that may persist for weeks or months without any change. Eventually, this nodule will become a pus-filled lump and in time will rapture. As it heals, thick fibroid tissue may form and after some time more nodules will crop up in the same area. Repeated bouts of flare-ups and remission will occur, and flare-ups will become more severe. Lesions and open wounds may form, and sometimes the abscesses burrow and cause deep inflammation and fever.
During flare-ups the pain will be severe and present 24/7. The abscesses may seep with a foul odour, and movement can restricted. Fever and fatigue are fairly common. The physical symptoms and pain associated with Hidradenitis suppurativa will cause many patients to suffer from low self esteem and depression.
You should seek treatment as you develop the condition, as it is much easier to manage it during the early stages. You should also be in touch with local support groups, such as HS Friends (UK), HS-USA.
Hidradenitis suppurativa is characterized by excess inflammation and what you eat will dictate the inflammatory state of your body. Some foods contain nutrients that the body will use to manufacture anti-inflammatory substances. You should include lots of these foods, examples of which include fish oil and anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, some foods contain substances that the body will convert to pro-inflammatory molecules. These foods should be limited or avoided altogether, and prime examples include processed meats and full-fat dairy products. By keeping your body in an anti-inflammatory state, you will soon notice your condition getting better.
There are a number of supplements that you should take if you want to cure your condition. These include vitamins and minerals that can enhance healing and improve skin health as well as natural extracts that have anti-bacterial effects and skin-clearing properties.
It is also highly recommended that you try natural, holistic management for the condition, as it is possible to cure it without any medications. Turmeric is an excellent medicine for this disease, as turmeric is one of the most powerful anti inflammatory agents.