What is Hidradenitis Suppurativa?
Hidradenitis Suppurativa, also known as Acne Inversa, is a non-contagious skin disease that is also known as Acne Inversa. This condition affects areas of the body where there is skin to skin contact and where sweat or oil glands are present; common areas are the underarms, breasts, buttocks, anal region, and groin. It affects between 1 to 4% of the world’s population, and is more likely to occur in females.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa is characterized by persistent abscesses, cysts (epidermoid, sebaceous, and pilonidal) and infections. The condition is chronic and often goes through alternating periods of remission and flare-ups. During flare-ups, the inflammation tends to be severe and patients may develop fever and be very fatigued. The pain can be unbearable and the person’s movements will be very limited. The abscesses often drain pus and leave open wounds that may not heal. Eventually, abscesses may become interconnected through tunnels under skin and this makes the condition harder to treat.
The immediate cause of Hidradenitis Suppurativa is clogging of the apocrine glands, due to dead skin cells become trapped in the gland, over production of oil, or bacterial accumulation. This will cause the plug to swell with pus formation. What causes this simple blockage to progress into a full blow Hidradenitis Suppurativa case is still debated, however, possible theories include an auto-immune reaction, hormone imbalances and genetic disorders. It is also known that excessive sweating and being overweight will increase the risk of developing the condition. Furthermore, wearing tight clothing, excessive shaving, using lithium medications and hot humid climates have been identified as triggering factors.
Clinically, Hidradenitis Suppurativa is described to occur in three stages. Stage 1 is characterized by the presence of a single or multiple abscesses without scarring that may be misdiagnosed as acne. Stage 2 is characterized by recurrent abscesses, lesions and sinus tract formation. At this stage inflammation will limit the person’s range of movement. Stage 3 is characterized by severe inflammation leading to swellings up to the size of baseballs. Scarring is prevalent, as are frequent infections.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa treatment will depend on the clinical presentation and extent of the condition. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat any infections and for anti-inflammatory effect. Corticosteroids, NSAIDs and other anti-inflammatory drugs are also widely used. For some cases, surgery may be needed. In Europe, Electron Beam Radiotherapy is also sometimes used.
Unfortunately, medical treatments for Hidradenitis Suppurativa are of very limited effectiveness and may cause side effects. Lifestyle changes, dietary intervention and natural extracts are often more effective at controlling the condition and sending it into remission, and indeed a complete cure is possible without any medical intervention. Lifestyle changes include the use of hydrotherapy, balneotherapy and icing of the area. Dietary intervention includes the adoption of an anti-inflammatory diet, use of specific vitamin and mineral supplements, and the achievement of a healthy bodyweight.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa Treatment
Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a recurrent and often debilitating skin disorder that manifests itself as inflamed painful abscesses and lesions in areas of the body where there is skin to skin contact, namely the armpits, breasts, groin, and genital area. Hidradenitis Suppurativa treatment includes drug therapy, surgical intervention, dietary and lifestyle measures.
Antibiotics are frequently prescribed for Hidradenitis Suppurativa, even though they are not proven to be effective. However, they can treat secondary infections and may provide an anti-inflammatory action with subsequent symptomatic relief. The choice of antibiotics should be based on a culture test of the drainage, as there is a wide variety of bacteria that can infect the lesions and not all antibiotics are equally effective. Both oral and topical antibiotics can be used, and at least a two month course is generally prescribed.
There is evidence that hormonal imbalances may be involved the in the etiology of Hidradenitis Suppurativa, and oral contraceptives are sometimes recommended to control this. Another class of drugs that are used are oral retinoids, which work by reducing the amount of oil secreted by the glands.
Other medical agents used are corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, depending on the suspected cause and severity.
Some cases of the disease benefit from surgery. This include the incision and drainage of certain types of abscesses, the opening of sinus tracks, and skin grafts to close wounds and repair damage caused by long standing Hidradenitis Suppurativa.
New Treatment Options
Two new treatment options are radiotherapy and cryotherapy. Radiotherapy has a potential to completely cure the disease in some patients, but it may cause long term side effects. Cryotherapy has been found to cause improvement in some and worsening in others; it is still under development.
The disease has a significant psychological burden that should be addressed. Patients may feel self-conscious about their bodies and may be limited in their movement, and this can lead to depression and social anxiety. It is therefore important that the appropriate health professionals are consulted.
Lifestyle and Dietary Management
Lifestyle and dietary management can have a tremendous impact on the disease and in some cases Hidradenitis Suppurativa may be sent in remission with these changes alone. Avoidance of prolonged exposure to heat and humidity is recommended, as well as the avoidance of shaving of the area. Loose-fitting clothing should be worn and topical antiseptics and antibacterial soaps can be helpful. An anti-inflammatory diet should be followed and stress should be managed as this can lead to flare-ups.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa Natural Treatment
Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a skin disorder affecting 1 to 4% of the world’s population. It is three times more common in females, and generally occurs between the ages of 20 to 30 (and never occurs before puberty). Affected areas are those where there is skin to skin contact and where sweat glands are present, namely the armpits, breasts, groin, and anal region. It is extremely painful and may limit the patient’s movement. Fortunately, there are a lot of dietary, lifestyle and natural choices that you can make to improve and even treat the condition.
As Hidradenitis Suppurativa is characterized by severe inflammation, it is imperative that you keep the body in an anti-inflammatory state. This is achieved through the adoption of an anti-inflammatory diet, i.e. one high in anti-inflammatory foods and low in pro-inflammatory ones. For example, foods high in omega 3 fatty acids (such as oily fish like salmon and fresh tuna) stimulate the body to produce molecules (called eicosanoids) that combat inflammation. These work in a similar way to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) but without the side effects. On the other hand, foods high in saturated fats and trans fatty acids cause systemic inflammation and a weakening of the immune system. Therefore, make sure you choose lean meats, grill instead of fry, avoid processed meats, limit chocolate and pastries, and opt for low-fat dairy products.
You should also supplement with a number of key vitamins, minerals and natural extracts. For example, vitamin C is well-known for its wound-healing properties because it stimulates the production of collagen. Hidradenitis Suppurativa tends to leave open wounds, and vitamin C can be extremely beneficial in this regard. Similarly, there are a number of natural extracts that have potent antiseptic, analgesic and wound healing properties, and these have been shown to be able to send the condition into remission in the vast majority of patients who try them. What’s so great about these is that they are not associated with any side effects, unlike synthetic medical and surgical options.
Lifestyle modification is imperative if you want to get rid of Hidradenitis Suppurativa. It is well known that smoking can be a causative factor and will exacerbate pre-existing conditions – therefore, quit smoking! Avoid wearing tight or synthetic clothing, and avoid or limit shaving the area as this will irritate the skin. Heat and humidity will make the symptoms worse, as will excessive sweating. Stress is both a causative and aggravating factor – find ways to deal with it. Talk to a counselor for help, and try to find the time to do pleasurable, relaxing activities. It is also very important to get enough quality sleep; try to aim for 8 hours each night. Being overweight will make the condition worse and much harder to treat, as you will suffer from more frictional forces in the area. Try to lose the excess weight by adopting a healthy, balanced diet.
Acne Inversa Information (Hidradenitis Suppurativa)
Acne Inversa, also known as Hidradenitis Suppurativa, is a chronic skin disease characterized by abscesses, lesions and scarring. It is caused by a defect of the follicular epithelium, and is known to have a genetic component. There are also a number of physiological and lifestyle factors that can trigger an outbreak of Acne Inversa, including excessive production of androgen hormones, being overweight, and smoking. The condition rarely goes away on its own and early treatment is recommended.
The prevalence of Acne Inverse is estimated to be between 1 to 4% of the world’s population. It is more frequent in women than in men, and very rarely occurs before puberty or after menopause.
What Causes Acne Inversa?
The exact cause of Acne Inversa is still debated, however, a number of possible factors have been identified. For example, smoking is such a factor and the condition is more prevalent among smokers. Similarly, being overweight increases the risk of developing the condition because there will be more frictional forces on the skin. Other lifestyle factors implicated in Acne Inversa include excessive sweating, stress, and wearing tight clothing. In addition, the use of some anti-perspirants and shaving may be involved in the worsening of the condition.
There are also genetic and physiological factors that can trigger the condition. Excessive levels of androgen hormones have been identified as causal factors, although many patients of Acne Inversa seem to have normal androgen levels. The condition tends to run in families, indicating that a genetic factor is also involved.
Although bacterial infections are prevalent in Acne Inversa, these appear to be a result of the disease and not a cause.
Symptoms and Clinical Features
The disease often starts as large blackheads and nodules. They may then join together and form abscesses and sinus tracts. Pus and foul-smelling secretions may drain from the abscesses and inflammatory lesions may form. These can lead to scarring.
Acne Inversa often leads to reduced mobility and recurrent infections of the affected areas. In addition, anemia is common in Acne Inversa patients owing to chronic inflammation.
Acne Inversa Treatment
Treatment of Acne Inversa is still an evolving area. Surgery may be needed for severe cases and to repair damage caused by a long-standing condition. Antibiotics are used to combat secondary infections, and anti-inflammatory drugs are used to reduce inflammation and pain. Some cases of Acne Inversa may warrant the use of immunosuppressants and corticosteroids. Cryotherapy and radiotherapy are two new treatments that are being used on a limited basis.
Natural holistic therapy is crucial for getting the condition under control and can potentially treat all but the most severe cases of Acne Inversa. This therapy involves the use of lifestyle modification, such as cessation of smoking, wearing loose-fitting clothes and stress management; dietary intervention, mainly the adoption of an anti-inflammatory diet; and nutritional supplementation, such as the use of high dose vitamin supplements that can speed up wound healing, improve skin health and boost the immune system. In addition, natural extracts with antiseptic properties can be very helpful.