Living with Hidradenitis suppurativa is more than just having a skin problem. While the physical impact can be huge, it also seriously impacts your emotional health and plays on your mental health too. With no cure currently, people living with HS have to learn to manage the condition and how it impacts them. It is not surprising that some people refer to those with HS as warriors. It is a daily battle physically and mentally. That is why as well as taking steps to help live with it such as moving to a hidradenitis suppurativa diet, it makes sense to have a team behind you to support you when you need it.
Who should be in your team of experts?
Among your team helping you the manage physical and mental impact of having HS should be;
Your family doctor – This is who you meet with for regular checkups. They will check your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar levels as well as check you for other disorders, check on your mental well-being and offer advice and referrals to specialists should you need them.
A dermatologist – Being a skin condition you will be referred to a dermatologist which is a doctor that specializes in skin conditions and treatment. They can help you with medications, and how to better prevent irritation and infection, and what to do when it does happen.
Hormonal disorder specialist called an endocrinologist – hormonal disorders and things like metabolic syndrome or diabetes are common in people with HS. If you have something like this you may end up with an endocrinologist who can help in several ways to better manage them.
Surgeon – For some people with hidradenitis suppurativa the lesions can become deep, painful and join together forming tunnels beneath the skin. That is when they will need to see a surgeon for surgical treatment.
Dietitian – Being overweight can make symptoms of HS worse. Some will use a dietitian to help them with a proper hidradenitis suppurativa diet. They can help you develop a plan for losing weight, eating more healthily, meal planning and more. This can have a knock-on effect of helping if you have other problems like diabetes or Crohn’s.
A gastroenterologist – Some people living with HS are also living with Crohn’s disease. Management will include a change to a hidradenitis suppurativa diet.
Mental health worker – Seeing some form of therapist can be very useful as living with HS can lead to things like anxiety, low self-esteem and even depression.
Who else should be in your team to offer support?
As well as having professionals in your team offering you support you also need help in other ways. Friends and family may be one source of comfort and support. Another is to look for groups with other people who have HS, who understand the things you live with and cope with.
Sometimes we tend to underestimate the importance of having a team or friends or family around us. But once you have someone it can make a world of difference.