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ThankfulForFindingThisPage (California) on 03/11/2021:
I started having symptoms of HS when I was around the age of 14 but I didn't realize what I had until I was around 20 years old. Once I discovered my extremely painful boils weren't a result of a lack of hygiene, I started the long road of looking for a cure or a way to manage them. A doctor gave me spironolactone and although it worked great, I didn't want to be on a medication like that long term so I started looking for natural remedies...which is when I found this site! It helped me so much I thought I would share some tips of my own. First, I only have HS in my groin (panty-line) and bottom area, so not in my armpits (thank God! ). Things I do that have helped A LOT:
--Washing the affected area once a day with hibiclens (OTC anti-bacterial soap). It was recommended by a doctor and I have found that when I skip a day, I regret it!
--Washing the affected area after working out or getting the area sweaty is a MUST! And I mean right after. I tend to sweat a lot around my panty-line and when I don't follow this regimen, again, I regret it! I usually schedule my daily skin-shower around when I work out so that helps.
--I didn't use tampons until I read posts on this page of women recommending it. I couldn't agree more that if you have HS you should exclusively use tampons. They are a life saver. I used to get the worst flares during my cycle and now barely at all! Moisture and a lack of airflow are huge no-no's with HS, so you can see why pads are terrible for you.
--Wear underwear/briefs that are a size too big. I know that sounds weird, but ANY pressure on the skin in my groin area (the hem line of underwear) would cause the worst inflammation which would lead to the boils. This was honestly one of the easiest ways to manage my problem. I also stopped wearing shorts/pants to bed to give the area more airflow (so less sweat).
--Like the above tip, do not wear tight swim bottoms! I now wear a tankini (I used to wear a one-piece) so that I can wear looser swim-shorts. Beforehand, I would literally have same-day inflammation from wearing a swimsuit that hugged that panty/hemline!
--Another reason I wear swim shorts is so that I don't have to shave my legs so high! I would get a lot worst inner thigh flare ups from shaving, so I stopped doing so as frequently. I have considered laser hair removal but have yet to try it.
--The right kind of shorts (and pants! ) is really important and is probably the hardest to find. I don't wear jean shorts at all anymore (I miss them so much) because they were pinching and causing problems. This is a tip that you will have to figure out by trial and error, but just know that clothing makes a HUGE difference. Speaking of clothing, if you're at home on a cold day, loose shorts and a blanket are better than pants--remember, lack of pressure and airflow are everything.
--Unfortunately, I haven't found many ways to manage the bumps I get on my bum! I've found certain chairs/sitting positions cause bad flare ups, but I haven't found anything else to help so far.
--I have tried turmeric, and although I think it helps a little (I was eating it every day for a couple of months), it didn't help me enough to make me want to eat it every day (so gross when eating a teaspoon by itself). I've also tried tea tree oil and manuka honey which I didn't see much results with. BUT, I wasn't all that diligent in their application so that might have been my problem.
--Although I would not recommend spironolactone long term, I would recommend someone who has super-damaged skin from untreated HS to use it for a couple of months. After 6 years of damage (I literally have scars and had areas of my skin that were so damaged they were almost constantly in a state of being an open wound), the break spironolactone gave me was great. It allowed my skin to heal up and just calm down and I think the natural methods I'm using now work a lot better because I started from better skin.
I've been doing the above for around 2-3 years now and I can say that although I still suffer from HS, it is nowhere near as bad as when I didn't know what HS even was. Although there are some areas of my skin that are still pretty sensitive (only one area of super damaged skin near my panty line), there are other areas that used to flare up every couple of months that haven't bothered me in over two years! Hopefully, this helps you on your journey. And please don't get overwhelmed by the changes either! Just take one change/step at a time and hang in there!
Kim (Ohio) on 05/28/2020:
After 3 different kinds of antibiotics, it kept coming back. It started at both his underarms and then his private area. I've been reading up on this and trying to find some relief for him. I bought turmeric pills, the high strength with at least 95% curcumin, he's taking zinc, vitamin D3 and flax seed oil. His boils drain often after a flare up. It's been a couple months taking turmeric, the boils are still there. I read up on nightshades food and took him off a certain food.
What we discovered is he can't have pizza sauce, any sauce with tomatoes in it. Then we discovered he can't have potatoes, just sweet potatoes which he doesn't like. Sugar, like in soda is another item he must avoid. I hate to see him suffer daily and having to do so much maintenance for his boils. I bought the 15 umf manuka honey to apply to the boils. It helps but it didn't totally go away. I spent $65 on a 8oz bottle of the 20 umf manuka honey and the boils are still there. When the boil drained, there is a piece of tissue hanging, gross, I know but the manuka honey helps it shrink back and close the opening, it took about a week.
I am running out of resources, I wish he could have 1 of the successful story I read from people here. We've been battling this for a year with no relief. Does anyone have something else I can try?
Vee (Palestine, Tx) on 12/31/2017:
Try to get rid of as much hair as possible in the area of your frequent breakouts. I use a hair removal lotion around my bikini area (don't get any of this on the bumps! ) that seems to work well and not cause further irritation. Shaving is the worse-I usually got a bump afterwards. I've never waxed my bikini area so can't comment on that. I've heard laser hair removal may work.
The TURMERIC really works. I simply mix a few dashes of it in a small cup of hot/warm water and drink it straight with a straw. The turmeric really stains so you may want to do this right before eating or gargle before brushing your teeth. It will stain your toothbrush. I try to do this at least once a day when I have a bad breakout but it you can do it more often I'm sure that is better. I actually like the taste of the turmeric so I'm thinking I must have a mineral deficiency or something.
I had a large boil right along my belt line that really hurt! I bought those large square band-aids and soaked the gauze part in straight TEA TREE OIL. It was large enough to completely cover the boil and was discreet enough for me to wear all day. In a few days it became flat and eventually went away. It did leave a dark spot that does eventually fade, after several weeks...
VICKS VAPOR RUB-even the generic kind-did give me some relief. It is soothing and did relieve some of the itching that happens as the boils go away and heal. It was best for me to use this at night.
Ladies-use TAMPONS instead of pads if at all possible. I usually get these breakouts around the time of my cycle. Using the pads causes more moisture in my vaginal/anal area and I start to sweat, which causes the bumps! Change your pads often. There is one particular brand-that starts with an "A"-that is the absolute worse and I always feel the moisture a few minutes after using them. Choose wisely!
Using ZINC SUPPLEMENTS seemed to work also. I read that taking 90 ml a day is the trick, but the brand I had is only 50 ml, so I had to take it twice a day. You MUST take this with plenty of water or with a meal, otherwise you will get nauseous or you may throw up.
This last breakout I had was the worse-I had about 4 small boils in my vaginal/anal area at the same time. As they heal, the itching is intense! Scratching seems to make itchiness spread. To combat this, I used ANTI-ITCH VAGINAL WIPES, (in my vaginal area) ANTI ITCH CREAM and ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT outside of my vaginal area.
I don't currently have any boils now, but on a daily basis I use TEA TREE OIL mixed with COCONUT OIL around the area where I've had past breakouts.
Mind you-my boils never burst, they just went away. Draw your own conclusions with that...
This is a really embarrassing ailment. I truly hope that some of these things I've tried helps someone.
Jess, 19. (Sydney, Australia) on 04/24/2017:
When I am stressed, the pain often rises to a 9-10/10 every moment of the day.
However, I have started to take a few herbs and change a few things up.
- Ginseng ( Relives stress)
- Turmeric capsules (Anti-inflammatory)
- Baking soda and tea tree oil baths 1-2 times a day.
- Anti-bacterial soap.
I also often use Bactroban (prescription) directly to the wound, however I have not found this to help any more than tea-tree oil.
I used to be so self conscious of my body and what people would think of the cysts if they were to see them, now, more than anything I just want the pain to go. If you receive nerve pain (I do all down my legs) this is very normal. Epsom salt baths do help a little bit.
Something I found was that trying to squeeze the cysts or pop them myself was a bad idea, though, sometimes when the pressure is soo terrible, it will be a way to relieve pain. You MUST ensure that the needle or pin you use is one-use only and completely sterile, though, if you have a nurse or doctor who can assist you I would ask for help as you do not want to increase scaring by hitting the wrong area.
As of last week I began to cut out Added sugars, grains, gluten, red peppers, red meat and dairy which seemly does help after about a week. Though you really do need to stick to this. At this point I have been to around 15 doctors and specialists for the issue, no one with a cure of course. But all I can really say here is if you have any way to reduce stress and maintain a happy wellbeing, do try. Meditation works for some, more sleep, exercise (Often hard when you are in pain) and eating well all contribute directly.
However, I realised that since I went overseas and became sexually in-active it worsened. I have a boyfriend back home and it has been around 4 months, for me, the hormones released during sex with a close partner was my best cure so far. Although it can sometimes be painful, the hormones kick in relatively quick and really do help. Though, 'Helping myself out' does not actually do anything for me in terms of pain relief or release of such hormones. For me, when progesterone and oestrogen levels are slightly higher (When ovulating) I am at my best. Taking a contraceptive pill did help but, only when you are on the active pills.
Good luck, please do let me know if you have any natural cures or thoughts towards this. Also, if you know any good herbs for hormone regulation I would love to hear!
Best of wishes,
Amdkm (India) on 02/14/2016:
As per my experience, antibiotics are not much effective unless its when a flare up occurs and you want to reduce the inflammation. Also, if you do surgery you have to do it each time a flare up comes.
But, I have been dealing with it and now I have very less flare ups using the following:
- After bath, Use Povidone Iodine solution, the traditional brown colour liquid on your affected area to kill all the germs.
Let it dry so that it doesnt stain your clothes
- Use clindamycin gel on your affected area any time of the day or before sleep.
Do not miss any day.
Do not shave or wax.Try an alternative.
Try not to sweat too much.
I guarantee that you wont have a flare up :)
Good luck guys and stay strong!
p.s In case you get a flare up ever, use neosporin (bacitracin) powder on it for school/work since its a powder and the pus won't scar your clothes.
Anne (Warsaw, VA) on 01/04/2015:
confirmed that it is Hidradenitis Suppurativa. This was 4 days ago. My armpit is pain-free and clear now. This is what I did:
1. I drank 1 Tbs of organic turmeric powder in 16 oz warm, (not hot), filtered water flavored with 1 oz of ACV, & 1 Tbs of Manuka raw organic honey -- all of this 3 times per each day.
2. Twice a day I cleansed my armpit with sensitive liquid soap, (used Dove) with a tsp of tea tree oil mixed into it; gently rubbing it with cotton puff if preferred, or just use fingers, absolutely no need to scrub, run warm water over as much as you can stand. It felt ridiculously painful when it first appeared, I could barely stand rinsing it with water.
3. after cleansing & gently patting it dry with toilet paper, I applied a mix of 1 oz of organic turmeric with 1 Tbs of same Manuka honey, making rather thick paste & then spread it on my entire armpit, it will run a bit, so wear black, as turmeric stains everything permanent yellow, but make sure no cloth is touching your pit, (or you will waste the paste you just made by having your clothing absorb it, just clamp your arm down & ace wrap it if neccessary.
4. Started taking 1 gram of Vit C, 300 mg Vit E with 50 mg Zinc, all 3 x day. This is in addition to my other supplements that I had been taking prior to this.
The swelling, redness & pain went away within 2 hrs of 1st application of the turmeric/manuka paste! I cried with joy, because the pain & swelling relief was so apparent.
I do not shave, just occasionally trim my armpit hair & have never had this happen to my entire armpit. When I used to shave I remember that I had one "pimple" pop out, which I quickly stopped with epsom salt soak, but cotton ball quickly became rough & it was painful, so I stopped shaving, had no problem until this deodorant application, or at least I think this did it.
Also, online, there is a rising consensus & a possibility that HS is an autoimmune disease. Now I already have rheumatoid arthritis, and HS is listed on many sites, as a "side-effect" of autoimmune disease. As much as I love my tomatoes & potatoes, eliminating all nightshade family plants from my diet helped greatly in controlling RA.
Maria (Eeatonville, Wa.) on 11/04/2014:
My son got his attack of Hidradenitis Supperativa on Friday. He took tumeric and zinc capsules/ pills, on Friday evening and on Saturday, morning & evening and Sunday, twice a day to the present. Saturday evening we used Ichthammol ointment on it (first with just tissue over it and the second time on Sunday, a bandage was used).On Sunday also a LED UV auto-leak-detection little 2 AAA battery flash light was place right on top of the boil for 5 minutes . This was done also for three minutes after the boil popped the next day (about 24 hours after the first flash light application.) We are continuing with the pills and are now using neosporin instead of Ichthammol ointment
I would like to get in touch with Hs/ai New Hampshire, 02/15/2014 to inform him of this.
I am 75 years old, no advertisement nor religious propaganda has been made and I just wish to thank everybody for their help.
Martha89 (Los Angeles, California) on 09/06/2014:
She told me to go home and try her solution for my problem, and if that did not work come and see her again. All smiles---it worked. She had me take a bath every other day for 7 days only, and to put a little clorox in the water (1/4) cup. In addition, she had me take my previous prescribed oral antibiotic for "7 days only" (this stuff I had been taken for 3 years), and to put the previous cream prescribed for my scars/bumps into my nostrils for 7 days, several times a day.
So basically this new doctor's advice cleared me up in 7 days for a disease I was told I had for the past 3 years. My old doctor (dermatologist) had me take oral antibiotic pills everyday for years, and I had to see him monthly---go figure.
It has been 4 months (summer 2014) and I have not had any outbreaks, smell or drama associated with that disease. The bumps under my breasts, which I thought "was not" associated with the disease was entirely something else--- a problem that quite a few big breasted women have. The new doctor prescribed a cream to put under my breasts and I have not broken out since. However, I do wear cotton in my bra on hot, humid days.
Needless to say, I am so happy that I am no longer having the problems I have had for the past three years. I do think that moving to this hot and humid state 4 years ago contributed to this problem. I must say I feel very uncomfortable in this weather, and try not to go out on extremely hot, humid days.
Good luck and I hope this helps somewhat.
Tracey (Somewhere, Montana Lake) on 04/02/2013:
I started using turmeric and magnesium yesterday for pain issues. I also take EFA's and have since my 20's. I am currently on an oral antibiotic which was given to me after 2 outbreaks where I turned septic. I had a cyst the size of a grapefruit on my buttocks. It started out the size of a grain of rice at 10pm. By 1pm in the morning I had a fever of 106 and the cyst was the size of a lime. By the time I was able to get into the doctor at about noon I was septic. This happened again a few years later. I also used ACV and zinc, not as helpful for me as other people here at this site. I don't want to add too many thing at once. So for now I see how what I added works. I would like to get off the antibiotics.
Suz (Highlands Ranch, Co) on 01/16/2013: