Originally posted 2017-04-25 23:43:23.
As a diabetic you end up dealing with things that are embarrassing to even show family members. I have debated talking about this because it truly is embarrassing. I have found that it isn’t just associated with diabetes. But I felt if I talked about it there may be something someone has found helpful or someone else may have found something I post helpful. So here goes.
Boils, cysts, furuncles, acne….I mean over the past 15 to 20 years I have heard many different names for it. When I started seeing doctors at the hospital on the military base I finally had someone tell me what it was exactly. It was called Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) -it is a disease where you start seeing pimple like bumps in areas you normally do not get your normal common acne. It is common to have them form in the groin, armpits, under breasts. It can look like boils, acne, or folliculitis. They recommend you seeing a licensed dermatologist.
Findings from one medical study showed that having HS increases the risk for developing other health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. HS also increases the risk of having a stroke. Losing weight and eating a well-balanced diet on most days can reduce these risks.
I have had to have a few lanced (cut open) and drained. They have also had to pack iodoform (an antiseptic soaked gauze) inside the wound after draining to soak up anything that didn’t drain. I remember by brother had something similar but do not know if it was in fact HS. He did end up having skin grafting and seemed he was on antibiotics often. They recommend washing the problem areas with antimicrobial soap and I do this every time I take a shower, bath, or PTA bath (not sure I want to translate this [sce emoji=”wink”/]) After showering, if the area has recently opened I will cover it with bandages that keep out water, sweat, and bacteria. If the bandages do not have a piece of non-stick gauze or pad I usually just place one inside of it. The pad will also protect the skin from anything that drain out of it too. I have always been told to make sure that it doesn’t come in contact with any other skin as it can spread the bacteria. It has happened to me a couple of times over the years. That is why I started keeping a well supplied first aid kit with plenty of the bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment. You can also check out their coupon deals where I have found some of these have a coupon.
One other important thing to remember…DO NOT SHAVE in these problem areas. Use a hair removal like Nair or Veet, or laser hair removal either at home, spa or salon, doctors office or get your areas waxed. Now the waxed bit…depending on the area you may find someone not willing to do it. I am actually trying to get the more permanent laser hair removal done but having a hard time deciding on whether to do it at home or pay someone to do it. Remember I am a diabetic and have other health issues (heart issues) so I do not know how it would affect me by doing it at home. Either way I just know I need it done.
- Lose weight to lessen HS — or even clear your skin. If you are overweight, losing weight may be the most effective way to control HS. It may even be more effective than treatment. Dermatologists have found that when patients who have HS lose weight, they have fewer flare-ups. Losing just 10% of your body weight can make a difference. Losing weight has additional benefits for people who have HS. Findings from one medical study showed that having HS increases the risk for developing other health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. HS also increases the risk of having a stroke. Losing weight and eating a well-balanced diet on most days can reduce these risks.
- Quit smoking to reduce HS flare-ups. Quitting smoking can help you live a longer, healthier life. It also can reduce HS flare-ups and decrease the severity of HS.
- Stop shaving where you have breakouts. Shaving can irritate the skin. If you want to remove the hair, ask your dermatologist what you can safely use to remove the hair.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes to reduce friction. Tight waistbands and form-fitting clothes tend to rub against your skin, causing HS to flare. Wearing loose-fitting clothes, including underwear, can help.
- Keep your skin cool. Overheating and sweating can cause HS to flare. If you need a product that can help reduce sweating, such as an antiperspirant, ask your dermatologist for a recommendation. Some antiperspirants are too harsh for skin affected by HS.
Medicines used to treat HS: If you have HS, your dermatologist may include one or more of the following in your treatment plan:
• Antibiotics: This is often part of the treatment plan. These drugs can reduce inflammation, fight infection, prevent HS from worsening, and stop new breakouts.
• Acne washes and medicines: Acne treatments that you can buy without a prescription may be helpful. Using these products alone usually will not clear HS.
• Bleach baths: If certain bacteria colonize (found on the surface of your skin) you, your dermatologist may recommend taking 5- or 10-minute bleach baths. You’d take this bath in your own bathtub at home. If a bleach bath is right for you, your dermatologist will tell you how to make one.
•Diabetes drug: Metformin has been approved to treat adult-onset diabetes. It may also help people who have HS and a condition called metabolic syndrome. ( I’m on this and unfortunately it hasn’t helped for this )
• Hormone therapy: Some women who have HS get relief by taking birth-control pills, a medicine called spironolactone, or another medicine that regulates hormones. These medicines can decrease pain and the amount of fluid draining from the breakouts.
• Methotrexate (severe HS only): This medicine is used to treat cancer and certain other medical conditions, such as severe psoriasis. It works on the immune system and may help control HS in some patients.
• Oral retinoid: A few patients with HS have been helped.
• Radiation therapy: This treatment exposes the body to radiation, so it is used less often today than in the past. Some patients have seen their HS clear. Be sure to talk with your dermatologist about the short- and long-term risks to your body.
• Wound dressings: If the HS causes tunnels beneath your skin, you will need to treat these as you would wounds.
I do know folks that have this and could stand to gain some weight not lose it so it isn’t 100 percent related to someone being overweight.
Hidradenitis suppurativa flare-ups can be unpredictable and can make you feel as if you have little control over your condition.The lumps that are often found in intimate areas of the body, such as the groin and between the buttocks, it’s also common to feel embarrassed by their appearance.
If you’re depressed or dealing with negative emotions caused by hidradenitis suppurativa, consider these coping tips:
•Talk about your frustrations and feelings. Do this in a safe environment, such as with a trained counselor, an understanding friend or a hidradenitis suppurativa support group.
•Manage your stress. Regular meditation or writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal might help ease the stress that hidradenitis suppurativa can cause.
•Educate yourself and your loved ones. Hidradenitis suppurativa might cause you to withdraw from family and friends. It can also affect your sex life, especially if you have open wounds or scars. You might also feel self-conscious about the odor emitted by draining wounds. Explain to loved ones that hidradenitis suppurativa is not contagious, nor is it caused by improper hygiene. Learning more about your condition and sharing information with others might bolster your self-confidence.
•Manage your pain. Lumps and lesions can cause physical and emotional pain. Ask your doctor for advice on how you can limit your pain, such as by taking pain relievers and properly dressing and caring for your wounds.
Rarely, patients with advanced hidradenitis suppurativa can develop squamous cell carcinoma in the affected skin.