Hidradenitis Suppurativa Diet
Hidradenitis suppurativa mimics many other skin conditions. It may look like acne or herpes. Yet, hidradenitis suppurativa is not caused by an infection. In fact, experts are not entirely sure of the cause, but they speculate hormones, genetics, excess weight and smoking may play a part.
The symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa include irritating lumps under the skin, typically where the skin rubs together, such as the armpits, breasts, buttocks and groin. These spots tend to heal quite slowly, sometimes creating scarring that appears as tunnels on the skin.
Unfortunately, many with this condition struggle with emotional and daily life impacts. In this article, we are going to explore how you can potentially treat this condition with a hidradenitis suppurativa diet, as well as other treatment options. Let’s take a look.
The Hidradenitis Suppurativa Diet
Hidradenitis suppurativa and its effects can become worse due to diets containing foods high on the glycemic index, high amounts of red meat and significant amounts of dairy. Thus, eliminating or limiting these foods may help you combat this condition and its symptoms.
On top of this, including the following foods can help potentially improve this condition.
1. Fresh Veggies and Fruit
Ideally, you want to limit any candy or refined sugars in your diet. Instead, you can opt to replace these with fresh fruit and veggies. These complex carbohydrates digest slower, and they contain fiber.
Fiber further helps balance blood sugar, which leads to optimal balance in the body. This can balance your hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters, which are necessary for smooth functioning of all organs and their systems.
This can help someone with hidradenitis suppurativa by ensuring their body receives a variety of nutrients and sustained energy, contributing to an optimal internal environment.
Legumes include beans, lentils, peas, soybeans and peanuts. Similar to vegetables and fruit, these foods are high in fiber, offering similar benefits. Unlike processed foods, they will not spike your blood sugar significantly, helping you avoid drastic fluctuations in the body which may contribute to hidradenitis suppurativa flare-ups.
3. Brown Rice, Oats and Quinoa
Brown rice, oats and quinoa are wonderful options for a hidradenitis suppurativa diet. These are also high in fiber, which means they will not spike your blood sugar or throw off your hormones. This further means you can enjoy rice, as long as it is not white rice.
Increased inflammation is thought to be a contributing factor to hidradenitis suppurativa. It’s been shown that omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in salmon, can help decrease inflammation, contributing to overall improved health. This can help alleviate pain caused by inflamed sores that arise in hidradenitis suppurativa.
Walnuts are another food that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. On top of potentially alleviating the symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa, these fats also enhance your health in other ways, such as improving blood vessel health, promoting better heart health and improving cognitive performance.
6. Flaxseed Oil and Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are also a high omega-3 fatty acid food. Again, these may help reduce inflammation, as well as improve your overall health.
Flax seeds can be added to your diet in a variety of ways. You can throw them in a smoothie or add them to a bowl of yogurt!
Alternatively, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds are also equally healthy options here.
7. Olive Oil
Olive oil is an excellent addition to any diet. For those with hidradenitis suppurativa, the omega-3 fatty acid content is particularly useful for reducing symptoms. This food can also possibly replace processed salad dressings or sauces, which may actually contribute to increased inflammation.
8. High-Quality Meat
For individuals with hidradenitis suppurativa, it is generally recommended to avoid red meats. However, this is often the go-to advice since many meats tend to be highly processed, containing chemicals and preservatives that may increase inflammation and hidradenitis suppurativa symptoms.
In fact, for those with this condition, you can enjoy meat, just as long as it is high-quality. This may mean purchasing meat from your local butcher or farm and ensuring it is grass-fed and hormone and chemical-free. It’s always a good idea to check where your food is coming from!
Other Treatment Methods
On top of adjusting your diet, your doctor may further recommend:
- Certain medications, such as steroid injections, topical antibiotics and pain medication.
- Surgery to remove tunnel tissue.
- Laser therapy.
- Following a set skincare routine.
- Making other lifestyle adjustments, such as getting regular exercise and not smoking.
Ultimately, your treatment type or combination depends on the severity and symptoms of your specific condition. It’s further important to discuss your diet and lifestyle choices with your doctor before making any drastic changes, such as cutting out particular foods or incorporating new ones.
At the same time, it is entirely possible to lead a relatively normal life with hidradenitis suppurativa. In fact, focusing on improving your overall general health can go a long way in managing this condition and preventing flare-ups.