Let’s break it down. You have Hidradenitis Suppurativa.
Is it a stubborn skin condition? Yes.
Does it suck? Hugely.
Is it a death sentence? No.
Can you carry on living life? Hell yes.
So, there you have it. We agree with you, it sucks. But let’s concentrate on the positives and try to live life to the fullest. While HS limits you in some areas of life, it does not stop you from enjoying food, having fun, being fashionable and with the right frame of mind, you can learn to be comfortable in your skin.
There are loads of myths surrounding Hidradenitis Suppurativa and sometimes when we forget they are not all true we can build it up to be a lot worse than it truly is. So, we are going to remind you of the most common misconceptions about HS so you can make sure they don’t knock you down.
1. You have HS because you’re overweight
People of all shapes and sizes have HS, just as people of all shapes and sizes do not have HS. A lot of the scientific papers do point to weight being a contributing factor, but it is not your fault that you have HS, regardless of the number on the weighing scales.
2. You have an STD
HS is NOT an STD. HS is NOT contagious. I’m glad we have cleared that up.
HS being an STD is a common misconception as HS often shows up in the genitals and buttock/groin area but take solace in knowing it is not an STD and it is not something you can contract from sexual activity.
3. You’re dirty
Cleanliness does play a role in managing your HS, but it is not a cause of HS.
Of course, when you have a skin condition it is important to remain as clean as possible because this will help the natural healing process. Wearing clean clothes, using anti-bacterial soap and washing regularly are all helpful but lack of cleanliness is not a cause of HS.
4. What you eat makes you flare-up
No matter what your skin is like it is important to live a healthy lifestyle regarding both how you exercise and what you eat. You could lead a vegan diet and still suffer from outbreaks. Likewise, you could eat burgers for a week straight and experience no outbreaks. There are some people who have identified certain foods as trigger foods that cause flare-ups, but this is not the case for everybody.
Your diet is extremely important to your overall health, and some people have had fantastic results from eliminating certain foods from their diet, going veggie or vegan. There are a few papers linking improvements in HS symptoms and diet, but there is not a huge amount of documented evidence yet. We look forward to seeing more research focused on the link between diet and HS in the future.
Read our Diet Tips for HS blog
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5. Tight clothes cause flare-ups
This is simply not true. The unfortunate truth is that while letting your skin breath can be very helpful, having clothes on that are too ‘airy’ can also lead to problems. Both tight and loose clothing can cause friction and possibly lead to a flare-up. It is important to wear what you feel most comfortable in. However, if you are wearing tight clothing, make sure they are clean, and the fabric is not going to aggravate your skin.
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6. What works for one, works for all
Every single HS patient is different. Because one patient finds relief using one remedy does not mean it will work for everyone with HS. If someone suggests trying a specific treatment and it does not work for you, do not lose hope. Talk to more patients, listen to your body and you’ll get there eventually.
Our HS Facebook community is a great place to learn from other HS warriors.
Help us to break the stigma surrounding Hidradenitis Suppurativa by sharing this article and spreading the word of these myths surrounding Hidradenitis Suppurativa.