If you have HS, there probably have been moments when you didn’t even dare to talk about it with anyone. But as uncomfortable as the conversation may be, it is important to speak to a medical professional about your experiences. Of course, this is easier said than done. But you’re not alone in it. A lot of us have been there – sitting in waiting rooms at dermatologist offices. Often anxious about what they may say and if you’re like me, assuming the worst. But you can prepare yourself for if you’re visiting a dermatologist for the first time about your HS.
Trust your doctor
Again, this may be easier said than done. And talking about your HS may make you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. But at the end of the day, your doctor’s job is to help you, not judge you. Sure, there are stories of people who’ve had negative experiences. But it does you no good to assume your experience will be like that. So try to go in with a positive mindset. Trust me, it helps. Try to be honest with your dermatologist about your experiences and how they make you feel. The more they know, the more they can help you. Some people (ahem, me) prefer to go to these appointments alone. But if it helps, take a loved one or someone you trust with you. And know that by seeing a medical professional, you’re taking a big step towards helping yourself, so please be proud of that.
Be ready to discuss your medical history
Your dermatologist may ask you a lot of questions about your past experiences with HS. It may be uncomfortable to talk about, but be honest about this. It may also help to bring medical records with you or have them transferred to your dermatologist. Again, your dermatologist is there to help you. So knowing about your medical history may help when it comes to discussing treatments or proper management.
Ask any questions you need to
If your dermatologist is knowledgeable about HS, they’ll be able to explain the nuances of your condition in a fairly confident manner. But it’s perfectly fine if you still have a lot of questions and concerns. And if it’s your first time seeing a dermatologist, you likely will. HS is different for everyone. You can’t assume that someone else’s experiences will be the same as yours, even if you have similar symptoms. So voice your concerns to your dermatologist and try to pay close attention to what they tell you. You may even want to take notes (That’s what I did, no shame in it, y’all!)
Try to be realistic about treatment options
Again, though we’ve all felt the pain of HS, everyone’s condition is different in some way. So what worked for one person may not work for you. With that being said, if your doctor suggests moving forward with treatment options. Be prepared to discuss a variety of them. But be aware that even if you are getting treatment, it may not work right away. Don’t give up, though! A lot of us who have found treatment did so through trial and error, so it may take time. Your dermatologist may suggest lifestyle changes and even refer you to a nutritionist (Again, this isn’t always the case). Or they may start you on antibiotics or another medication. They may even suggest surgery or laser treatment. I was on and off antibiotics for four months before my first surgery, so again, remember to be patient when waiting for results.
Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion
If you’re not satisfied with what your dermatologist has discussed with you, by all means, get a second opinion. While people are becoming much more aware of HS, there are still a lot of doctors and healthcare professionals that aren’t too knowledgeable about it yet. And if this is the case, feel free to consult someone who may be able to give you a better answer.
HS can be frustrating (a vast understatement there), but your first trip to your dermatologist doesn’t have to be. And if it’s a good match, you and your doctor may be well on the road to a treatment that works for you.
About the Author
Shatece Haynes is a HS Warrior based in the USA. She is a content creator and runs a YouTube channel featuring all things lifestyle, beauty and passion. Her goal is to motivate, inspire, learn, and have a ton of fun with you guys along the way!