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. Its 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 it 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.
For a comprehensive guide on lifestyle and dietary management of the condition, read Therese Wilson ‘s Fast Hidradenitis Suppurativa Cure. Wilson is a nutritionist, health consultant and former sufferer.
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