Hidradenitis suppurativa and diet: What's recommended?

Answer From Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.

What you eat might have an impact on your hidradenitis suppurativa.

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet might help prevent weight gain, which can affect friction in areas where lumps caused by the condition often appear. Losing weight might reduce the hormonal activity that influences the condition. Eating well can also help you feel good about yourself and counter the effects hidradenitis suppurativa might have on your self-esteem.

No specific diet has been shown to cure hidradenitis suppurativa and further research is needed on how food choices affect the condition. However, limited evidence suggests that certain steps might be helpful, including:

  • Eliminating dairy products. Milk, cheese and other dairy products can raise insulin levels. This leads to the overproduction of hormones called androgens, which play a role in hidradenitis suppurativa. Removing dairy from your diet might reduce the number of new lesions that develop and lessen symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa.
  • Eating less sugar. When combined with moderate exercise, limiting foods with added sugars and syrups, such as sodas, cereals and candy, might reduce your insulin levels and ease the symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa.
  • Avoiding foods containing brewer's yeast. Brewer's yeast is an ingredient that helps bakery products, such as bread, pizza dough and cake, to rise. Avoiding products with brewer's yeast might help promote the healing of skin lesions.

Talk with your doctor before making significant changes to your diet. If you choose to modify your diet, keep in mind that it might take months before you experience any improvement in your condition. Also, you'll need to continue following your new diet to maintain any improvements. In addition, surgical treatment of your lesions might still be necessary.

Dec. 29, 2018 See more Expert Answers

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