There are lots of things you can do to limit the impact HS has on your day to day life. There will of course be bad days and flares, frustration and tears. But there will also be great days, flare free days, where you can live your life to the full. Sometimes this is out of our control, and HS flares up unexpectedly, but there are some things that we do have control over that can help us to live our lives to the full.

Go to the doctor

You have the same right to health as everybody else and should never feel ashamed or embarrassed. HS is a medical condition that requires medical attention. No matter what you read online about diets or home remedies, please see a doctor before you try anything.

There are many HS speciality clinics. A good doctor who knows about HS will be able to help you.  There are treatment guidelines for HS, and there will be a bit of trial and error to find a medication that works for you, but you will find something eventually that will help to reduce your flares. The doctors are on our side. If your doctor makes you feel ashamed or does not know about HS, please consider finding an alternative.

Find your support network

Whether it is a close friend or family member, or new friends you make online. We all need support and understanding. Peer support can get us through the dark days, and you will find that talking to someone else with HS can be a huge weight off your shoulders. It is also great to share good experiences too. If you’re flare free or having a good run, it’s time to celebrate! And you might be able to help someone too, often sharing our stories can be a huge help to someone else going through the same thing.

It is too easy for us to become a little bit withdrawn when we are unwell. It is important for us to keep connected. Call a friend for a catch up or visit a loved one.

Prioritise your wellbeing

Our days can be very busy and stressful. Adding HS on top of that can complicate things even more. It is so important to make time for some self-care.

If someone you loved was unwell, how would you treat them? I’m sure you would reassure them and be kind to them. It is important to treat ourselves in the same way. We deserve it! So, try to carve out some time for yourself each day. Self-care can be anything from reading your favourite book, doing your favourite hobby, or simply getting some rest. Whatever it is, do something good for yourself every day.

Eat nutritious wholesome food

Our bodies are amazing machines, and they want to be healthy. We can help our bodies by providing them with proper nutrition. This is something that is fully within our power to do because the food we eat, it our choice.  We decide what to buy and what to eat.

It is well recognised that there are certain foods that make inflammation worse in the body – high sugar foods, processed and ready meals, certain types of fats. Also for people with HS, there can be certain trigger foods that can cause a flare-up. It takes time to figure our what your food triggers are, if any. But once you notice a pattern, you should avoid your trigger foods.

Also, there are lots of foods that are known to reduce inflammation in the body. These should be included more often in our meals. Foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish, nuts and seeds. Even simple food swaps can make a big difference and contribute to good health and wellbeing.

Exercise when you can

This can be challenging when you’re in pain or flaring up a lot. But there is always something you can do to move your body. If your legs are sore, exercise your arms, neck and abs. If you arm are sore, try getting out for a walk. Even if it is slow and short, you will feel the benefits. Even a short 3 minute yoga session is a great option. Especially if they are tailored for people with HS.

Mind your mental health

People with HS have a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression. So, we have to be very mindful of our mental health and keep ourselves well.  We can experience a huge range of emotions in a short space of time, and sometimes this can be overwhelming. Keep track of your feelings and learn to recognise when you are not feeling yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, either from your support network, or from a doctor. It is very normal to experience bad feelings sometimes. Especially when you have a condition like HS, where there is so much uncertainty, pain and frustration. But these feeling can be managed, and HS does not have to ruin your life.

Have healthy relationships

Many of us write off the possibility of finding love or getting into a relationship because of HS. This is tragic, because HS is only a small part of us, and should not stop us pursuing love. We all deserve love and to be loved. That includes YOU. You are worthy and HS should not hold you back. Being intimate with someone, is well, intimate, but it doesn’t always have to mean sex. There are lots of ways to build intimacy in a relationship. And it can be fun to experiment.