Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Health Benefits

Dietary Changes for Hidradenitis Suppurativa

| Modified on Feb 06, 2024
Hidradenitis Suppurativa Dietary Changes

Dietary and lifestyle changes for Hidradenitis Suppurativa include eating whole foods and regular exercise. As is always our aim, we hope to offer you a few non-medical treatment options that are safe and effective. While many different treatment options have been suggested for HS, some of the most effective restore balance within the body with proper nutrition and a healthier lifestyle.

What Causes Hidradenitis Suppurativa?

Understanding the cause of any condition is often the first step to treatment. However, when it comes to treating Hidradenitis Suppurativa, it isn?t that simple. Research suggests that HS occurs as the hair follicles in the skin become blocked and inflamed, but the exact cause for this blockage and inflammation has not been identified. It is likely that hormones, genetics, excess weight, and specific lifestyle factors such as smoking play a role in the development of the condition.

What Kind of Dietary Changes Should I Make?

Since several dietary and bodily composition factors are involved in the development and progression of the condition, we understand that making dietary changes can be an important remedy for the condition. Detoxing the body of processed foods and eating a diet comprised mainly of whole foods is the first step toward healing. Necessary dietary changes include:

- Eliminating processed foods
- Eating mainly organic meats, produce, and other foods
- Consuming the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables
- Incorporating green juices into the diet
- Limiting wheat, flour, gluten, dairy, and caffeine
- Reducing or eliminating sugar

What Kind of Lifestyle Changes Should I Make?

Additionally, certain lifestyle changes affect the body's ability to function properly. A lifestyle that incorporates many behaviors that could be considered "high-risk" may be contributing to the manifestation of HS. As such, a number of lifestyle changes can be made to begin treating the condition including:

- Eliminating alcohol
- Quitting smoking
- Getting adequate rest
- Exercising regularly

Many individuals who have been suffering with Hidradenitis Suppurativa for years have experienced success with these dietary and lifestyle changes. Keep reading below for useful tips from our readers who have

Related Links:

Heal Boils Naturally: Effective Home Remedies
Skin Condition Remedies
Top Remedies for Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Turmeric Cures and Miracle Health Benefits

22 User Reviews

Posted by Berry (Tampa, Fl) on 11/15/2018

I eliminated all nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, etc.) being careful not to have a single trace in my diet. HS is now completely gone.

Replied by Berry
(Tampa, Florida)

I'd like to add that I found other foods that trigger breakouts. Basically anything that contains solanine. Nightshades are high in solanine. But certain other foods contain it too such as apples, cherries, beets. I am still breakout free. The good news is that I have been able to re-introduce a few nightshades into my diet without any issues by doing the DNRS protocol. This program is designed to overcome food sensitivities and involves retraining the brain with visualizations. I ate french fries twice last week with no breakout. I should mention this was not an overnight fix but took a couple months of training.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Lilaki (Nashville, Tn) on 02/05/2018

One thing I noticed about boils and hidradenitis suppurativa is they tend to come when I eat a lot of sugar and am sedentary so the blood sugar doesn't get burned up. I know people here get a lot of relief using castor oil on is and turmeric with HS. Castor oil and turmeric are both said to reduce blood sugar and help with insulin resistance. SO maybe for a lasting solution some will find limiting sugar in the diet and maybe enjoying curry (with turmeric) dishes regularly in the diet. And if you do get a boil use a castor oil-tumeric paste.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Kim (Jamaica) on 12/05/2014

I can't say that I am happy to hear that others suffer from this annoying and embarrassing condition, but it is good to know that I'm not alone. I have suffered from Hidradenitis Suppurativa since I was 21 for 3 years now and no doctor has found what it was until today when I decided to go to another doctor. He told me I had hs and told me more than I had found out in prior reading.

I have had 5 surgical removals and they still came back sometimes in the same spot, sometimes indifferent spots. They usually came up when I had mayonnaise which I found out I'm allergic to, they appeared less when I avoided mayonnaise. I later found out that I was allergic to dairy and tried to avoid it as best as possible, but when I completely took dairy from my diet they happened even less. I am not sure the cause of this last breakou.t I think it may have been an artificial drink that I had (I don't usually drink artificially drinks especially those with too much sugars) or a spike in flour in my diet. I know it wasn't caused by wheat because since I got rid of milk there's no need for cereals. I will be trying a lot of the tips I have read here and I will definitely track my progress. I'm also considering laser hair removal (if that has worked to help alleviate the frequency of breakouts please let me know).

i don't know for other people with hs but for me the worst part of this is having doctors constantly tell you that this is caused by bad hygienic practices and then making it look like you are a nasty person (My new doctor said that based on my current practices the only way I could be any cleaner is maybe if I locked myself in a sanitized bubble.)

Good luck to all and wish me luck please.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Katrina (Usa) on 11/20/2014

Hey everyone.

I am a 21 yr old who has been suffering from HS since I was 14. For the past five months, I have been trying to buy as much organic, non-additive, and non-preservative foods as I can afford. Although I haven't been able to cut all processed foods out of my diet, I have noticed a change in the frequency and degree of flare-ups. I also have been using Tend Skin liquid topically after I shower and I really think it helps. It is intended for prevention of razor burn after shaving but seems to work against HS flare-ups as well. I definitely recommend trying it.

Since I began reading this post, I have now decided to cut dairy out of my diet and begin taking turmeric pills. I shall see how this works out for me. Hoping I don't have to cut gluten out of my diet!

Dietary Changes
Posted by Tove (Seattle, WA) on 10/20/2014

Hi everyone,

I am also suffering from HS. It runs in my family, and some of my siblings also have it. I have been on the paleo diet for about two years now, and it has helped me enormously with this problem. I haven't had any breakout for about a year and a half now, and my acne has decreased a lot! I started eating regular white potato about two weeks ago (because I need more calories), and now I have a huge irritated boil... I wonder if I'm sensitive to potato.

Anyway, I really recommend everyone to try Paleo diet! That means, dump all dairy products, grains, additives, sugar, cooking oils and processed foods. Also avoid chemicals such as pesticides and additives (choose organic). The foods I mentioned are inflammatory and makes your body prone to things like HS. Instead, eat clean whole foods like veggies(above ground), meat, fish, nuts and seeds. I also recommend drinking applecider vinegar, lemon water and eating fermented foods. These foods removes bad acidity from the body.

Do this, you will not regret it!


Replied by Bee

This disease is known to be irritated by nightshade vegetables. That's why you had a reaction to the potato. Nightshade vegetables include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, chayote, paprika and other reddish spices.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Joy-ca (California) on 08/24/2014

I suffered from mild HS every month just before my cycle. I say mild because never any open lesions but always a couple large painful swellings. Imagine my delight when I gave up gluten (for other reasons) and found that my HS diminished dramatically.

Since that discovery two years ago, I have been eating modified Paleo and grateful for the many health benefits, including not worrying about painful HS swellings each month. The only other thing I had previously tried was a supplement that worked for my HS but unfortunately gave me a rash of tiny bumps on my forehead.

Just recently received a gift of fresh heirloom tomatoes from a friend's garden. Have eaten those for years with abandon but this time had the worst HS experience of my life, textbook photos of lesions, etc. just horrendous so I guess I can safely say this nightshade has been crossed off my list.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Healed (Georgia) on 04/30/2014

My 16 year old daughter has had problems with this dis ease. I fed her the tumeric, multiple vitamins, tea tree oil and a mixed solution of dmso/concentrace trace mineral solution was put on the boils before it came to a head/burst. I prayed and asked God to show me how to get rid of this dis ease. I found she is allergic to high fructose corn syrup and beef. If she has high fructose corn syrup in anything she has a reaction. If she has too much beef she has a reaction. She gets very tired a day or two before the boil appears. I make sure she puts the tea tree oil and dmso mixed with concentrace trace mineral solution on the area. This really helps. Once we found out the triggers, she has had only one reaction this year. I wish you the best.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Hs/ai Specialist (New Hampshire) on 02/15/2014

I'm a dermatologist with a special interest in hidradenitis suppurativa and I'm fed up with the attitude of my colleagues towards this disease.

The postings here reflect a tremendous problem and huge differences in level of understanding about the condition and its treatment. And it is not just patients who are confused and frustrated - so are the dermatologists, GPs, surgeons, ER docs, gynecologists and Infectious Disease docs who you have all met!

We have been working on the dietary side of the disease and are accumulating cases who have cleared with a diet very similar to the Paleo diet described here.

We insist on zero dairy - that is total zero dairy, even avoiding things like casein and whey in protein powders and snack bars - combined with a low glycemic load diet that allows no sugar and nothing with a Glycemic Index over 55.

The science behind this has developed immensely over the past 3 years but it has not reached the public yet - lots of resistance from physicians and surgeons who won't take the time to learn. Sad but true.

So why do I write here? Because this is where the people who suffer from this rotten disorder look for help.

And I write solely because I want each and every one of you to try six full months with this diet. I have nothing to sell. I do not want you as a patient - I'm far too busy to even consider that. Being anonymous allows me to set you on what I consider the right road without you needing to spend another nickel on doctors, prescriptions or travel.

It is often said that free advice is worth what you pay for it. I want to prove that wrong. All I ask from each and every one of you is that you report back here on July 15 and tell us all how you did. You can tell us all whatever else you did besides the diet, but PLEASE do the diet. Set your iPhone reminder, mark your calendar, count and diagram all your active spots/lumps/draining areas today and record your progress over the next six months, then report in here on July 15.

And if you would like to act as the control group, you could volunteer to keep doing what you are doing, tell us what dairy/sugar/flour/sweets you continue to consume and keep the same spot/lump/draining area record to tell us about in July. Help us all make medical HS/AI history.

Replied by George
(Los Angeles)

Hello, I spoke to sever HS sufferers, and they all told me that they have pets. Would you think pets have anything to do with this. I have googled this online and humans can get certain bacteria from their pets. Any theory to this?

Dietary Changes
Posted by Mary (Memphis, Tn) on 11/18/2013

After 20 years, I may have found my cure for hidradenitis suppurativa. I've been grain free for 5 days, and 8-month-old lesion is gone!!! Yes, I've been fighting that breakout for 8 months, and thought it would never go away, but it's gone. And it didn't take long once I quit eating all grains. Now I have to find out which grains I can add back into my diet.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Zeph (USA) on 05/25/2013

I love this site, but I must take issue with the intial description of this disease and the heading of this page. HD is NOT (in my case) clogged glands, and as for the discharge, it can range from white to green and frequently mixed with blood. This is extremely painful, depressing, and a torment. Constant washing and cleaning of clothing and bedding is essential. Oddly, this ailment (again, in MY case) has proven itself to not be contagious, amazingly enough.

The reason I am posting here is because I have managed to control, and very possibly kick this hellacious nightmare.

If you believe in the medical industry and big pharma, or are a professional victim, -move on, you won't like my post. If you have HAD it w/inept, moneygrubbing prescription writers who treat you as an R&D experiment, read on.

I have only gotten clues about this ugly, depressing illness after searching several alternative remedy sites. NO where have I seen positive results, cures, or relief from sufferers who have succumbed to western medicine treatments, therapies, surgeries, antibiotics or other products of big pharma. Also I would caution you to BEWARE of miracle products and cures. Do a google search on third party reviews concerning whichever remedy you are tempted to try. Remember to CONSIDER THE SOURCE.

The first thing you need to do is lose weight and alter your diet. If you're already fit, look at your diet.

Have you any abcesses or dental problems? Did this condition appear after a dental procedure? Likely the toxins are attacking your lymph nodes to exit your body. Don't expect this diagnosis from doctors. They prefer to give a reluctant prognosis years & thousands of dollars later, from what I've seen.

You MUST become knowledgable about EACH and EVERY thing you consume and ingest if you are truly serious about kicking this. If you scour the alternative remedy sites you will find different therapies you can try that won't break the bank. You must systematically eliminate poisons, fats, and probable allergens. You MUST be patient, as the results will reveal themselves SLOWLY.

Try to find an acupuncturist/chinese herb doctor, but question them about their familarity on this ailment. If they hedge, or forward you to a regular MD, they are of poor quality. It's probable one of them will be able to help you, but they are not infallible, and doctors ARE only human; THEY ARE NOT GODS. If they cannot be bothered to review or comment on what information you consider important, they will waste your time AND money.

There seem to be a number of causes for this illness, as individuals do not all share common successful therapies. Many things can cause your immune system to dump toxins. Your physiology is attempting to save your life!

I surmise no serious treatment is forthcoming for this disease because it gives the medical industry a nice nice fat arena in which to jerk around exhausted, ravaged sufferers while they clean out our bank accounts. Just like with cancer.

Though it is miserable and difficult, try to perservere, and know that I too suffered horribly from this hellish illness. The difference is, I do not trust these quacks and butchers after seeing the results of their handiwork on those who entrusted themselves to their "care". To witness the exact same results endlessly and expect different for yourself is just stupid.

Horrific pain and constant, protracted dealing with this living hell had me at my wit's end for months, but I DIDN'T stop seeking remedies or therapies THAT WORKED. I continued working my job and honoring my commitiments and responsibilites this entire time. No sooner would I get thru my door than I collapsed in exhaustion from the pain. I am not affluent by ANY stretch of the imagination.

If you have no discipline, then you are damned to years of this. It is hard, but if you do not surrender, you can kick this! Perservere!

Replied by Deidre
(Washington, Dc)

First time in 5 years I have ever heard someone express the hell that I'm feeling. I'm going to try this. Thank you for posting. Dee

Dietary Changes
Posted by Catherine435 (Georgia, Us) on 03/25/2013

The first time that I had read that HS might be due to a food allergy, I remember thinking, "Oh sure" The best doctors in the world can't figure this thing out, and I am supposed to believe that I get these miserable lesions because of what I eat. But I kept reading a post that had been generated through out Earth Clinic by a woman who had gone to see a Naturopath. She went, was tested for food sensitivities, found out the offending food and her HS went into remission and she has not had a problem with it since. It couldn't be that easy.... Could it?

But after trying everything by the book -- antibiotics, topicals, washing with a specific soap, trying to de- stress my life. Losing weight - and I lost 50 pounds. And finally the most invasive of all, surgical removal of tissue - I was no closer to a cure than when I started.

It was time for me to do the research. Articles, I read everything I could get my hands on. I read blog after blog and came up with some amazing information. In essence our bodies are screaming at us through the HS lesions. We have and are consuming a food group whether it be gluten or nightshades or dairy or eggs that are making our bodies attack themselves. Simple. Find out what the offending food is and remove it. Either by going to see a Naturopath for an IgE and an IeE food sensitivity tests. Or if you financially aren't able to do that, then simply put yourself on a diet of protein, simple salads and green vegetables. Once you have done that, introduce one food group at a time and wait to see if you flare. No flare. Wonderful, now try another and another until you isolate the group that causes you to flare. Be vigilant at looking at labels. Because I was sensitive to nightshades, I had to look out for paprika and it is in so many different foods. Vigilance.

If you are like me, you have lived with the fear of this disease on a day to day basis. You have kept yourself isolated for fear that someone might find out. The pain is so intolerable as is the stigma of this disease. But you can take your life back. You can be happy again. It is a process and it will take time and diligence. You deserve a chance at living a normal life. God be with you.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Chiquita Banana (Pacific Nw) on 03/17/2013

I have HS on my lower half and it's just an awful disease. I believe that it's an autoimmune disease so did a lot of research on how to naturally treat it that way. Since September of 2012, I've been eating a paleo diet (no grains, dairy, soy and limited sweets - honey, maple syrup or stevia only occasionally) along with drinking only water or herbal teas and it's cleared up. I still have one boil on my butt that starts to flare up and then goes away, but other than that I'm good. I also take turmeric capsules every day along with a whole foods multivitamin and I'm adding msm to my supplements this next week. Anyhow, that's what has worked for me so far, but every person is different.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Rob (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) on 10/29/2012

This is in response to the few comments made on dietary changes having an impact on HS. My daughter has sufferred from this desease for 2 years now, and through many hours of research and reading forums and blogs such as this one, we, as a family, decided to cut out certain food groups as another desperate attempt to get my little girls life back. We cut out all "night Shade" veggies I. E potatos, peppers, tomatoes.... We started this at the end of July during a bad breakout, and quite honestly had little belief there would be any improvement. She has been SPOT FREE for 10 weeks now, nothing, nothing under the skin, no sores, no pus, no pain.. Just the remaing scars that may never go away. As of this message, she is also no longer taking ANY medication (2 weeks so far) something we thought would never happen as heavy anibiotics have been a staple for her the entire time since it was identified as HS. I am not a doctor, nor can I say what we are experiencing is an answer to all, I justed needed to share our news.

Our next step is to add foods back in to find, hopefully, the trigger food, but we are too scared to do this quickly as these past weeks have been a godsend to the whole family.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Momma2boys (Pacific Nw, Oregon) on 09/22/2012

I first discovered that I had hidradentis suppurativa 8 years ago when I was in my early 30's. Some boils popped up in my groin area after I had taken some hormones in order to try to get pregnant. At the time there wasn't nearly as much information on the internet as there is now regarding natural treatments but I wasn't about to let my doctor lance them. I started taking some turmeric capsules that I made and also applied tea tree oil to the boils. I also went commando and wore lots of skirts as to not further irritate the area. After a few months the boils shrunk and then for over 7 years the only reminder I had of them was a few little black seeds down there and some faint scars. (Actually, I do remember them being tender and barely swollen about once every other year or so around the time of my period though. )

Then a couple of months ago, a new boil popped up along my bikini line. It grew really quickly into a golf sized ball (a couple of days). It was super, super painful which made it hard to walk or sit normally. I started taking warm baths in tea tree oil and epsom salts, twice per day, and I began taking the turmeric capsules again along with upping my daily water intake. This didn't appear to help much if any at this point. And I was super discouraged, tired and weepy at nothing. Hidradentis suppurativa is just awful.

Then I began to look at my diet. I already ate a pretty clean diet - no artificial chemicals, no gluten, lots of fresh veggies and fruits - but I was in so much pain that I decided to take things a step further, believing that food can heal. I started eating Paleo - no grains at all (including white potatoes and corn), no dairy, no sugar, nothing processed. Basically, meat (grass-fed when I can afford it), veggies and fruits along with coconut and olive oils. Within a few days of eating this way, my boil popped and began to ever-so-slowly leak puss mixed with blood. I still soaked in the tub twice per day with tea tree oil and that helped to loosen things up, which I think has been important in the healing process. Then about a week later, the blood and pus changed to a white liquid that came out of the boil when I pressed on it very gently.

Anyhow, it sucks to have to give up pasta, cheese and my beloved chocolate... But it's totally worth it to be pain and boil free! I really believe that hidradentis suppurativa is an autoimmune disease of somesort. I also have pcos and endometriosis along with keloid scarring, which I also believe have an autoimmune connection. My hope is that by eating this way my body will continue to heal itself.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Jc (Omaha, Ne) on 07/11/2012

Google "hidradenitis suppurativa paleo diet".

I have had HS for 16 years. I have had medical doctors ignore my pleas for help and only prescribe antibiotics - which incindentally, made the issue worse.

I have tried apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, antibacterial soaps, no soap... I can't even remember all of the things I've tried. Nothing worked. For years, I had no hope. The breakouts had gotten worse and the scars kept me in sleeves even in the summertime.

Then I found that HS is an autoimmune condition... Just like my Hypothyroidism, back and joint pain, etc. The puzzle pieces started coming together.

The best/easiest/cheapest treatment I've found is to change your diet to a paleo diet: meats, seafood, lots of veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds and quality fats. Since starting the paleo diet over a year ago I have not only lost 30 pounds effortlessly and kept it off, but I rarely get an HS breakout. If I do, it's generally very minimal and Turmeric, 2-3 times a day, in pill form usually clears it up in a day or two! Gluten tends to be the biggest trigger for a breakout, so I try to make sure my diet is completely gluten-free.

I honestly never thought I would be HS free! I thought I would live with this forever. But now, after just one year, my scars are starting to fade and I even have a couple of sleeveless tops that I like to wear!

There are so many people who have nearly erradicated their breakouts (including myself) by eliminating all grains, sugar, legumes and dairy from their diets - only to find other health benefits as well.

I'm so happy to be able to share this information with you all as I know what it's like to have lost hope for a treatment, let alone a cure! I urge you to do the research and give the diet/lifestyle a try for just 1 month and if you don't feel any better or notice a change (I bet you will, tho) then you've lost nothing.

It's feels so wonderful and amazing to have made it to the other side of this painful and embarrassing condition! Good luck to you all.

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