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Natural Treatments for Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)

Natural Treatments for Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)

Chinese medicine practitioners can provide several natural treatment options to hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) patients, including:

  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal therapy
  • Dietary modification
  • Help with smoking cessation or weight loss

HS is a painful condition that can significantly reduce quality of life, but there are few proven treatments that can address the condition. Typically, a combination of skin care, pain management medication, immunosuppressants, hormone medication and antibiotics are used to help patients. However, this treatment regimen can produce unwanted side effects and fail to produce sufficient results for many people.

How do Chinese Medicine Practitioners Treat Hidradenitis Suppurativa?

Chinese medicine seeks to restore whole-body health and support the body’s own healing processes in reducing HS symptoms. Practitioners rely on a combination of the following therapies for treatment:

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years by Chinese medicine practitioners to treat a comprehensive variety of health conditions. During an acupuncture session, the practitioner will insert fine needles into the skin. These needles are targeted at specific acupuncture points, where the body’s energy meridians meet. Western research into acupuncture points shows a lot of overlap between acupuncture points and areas of dense nerve tissue.

Herbal therapy

Chinese medicine practitioners rely on a variety of beneficial botanicals to balance organ function, improve organ performance, and remove toxins from the body. Herbal therapies are custom formulated for each patient, as the patient’s overall health will also determine which herbs are most appropriate.

Dietary modification

Many HS patients report a connection between certain foods and flareups. Chinese medicine practitioners regularly make dietary recommendations to their patients to reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms.

Behavioral modification

Smoking and obesity are major risk factors for hidradenitis suppurativa, and in people with HS, both can make the condition worse. Chinese medicine practitioners can help with smoking cessation and weight loss, usually with acupuncture as the leading treatment.

How Can Acupuncture Help with Hidradenitis Suppurativa?

Although most people with HS get optimal results through a combination of natural treatments, acupuncture is a primary tool for Chinese medicine practitioners. Here are some of the ways acupuncture can help people with HS:

  • Reducing HS pain – There is a mountain of convincing research to show that acupuncture can reduce pain severity and frequency by down-regulating pain signaling. Specifically, acupuncture releases pain-fighting compounds into the blood, including endorphins and endogenous opioids. Together, these compounds relieve pain by interfering with pain signaling in the same way that analgesic medications do.
  • Reducing inflammation from HS – Acupuncture also reduces inflammation by stimulating the body into regulating its own inflammatory processes. Multiple studies show that following an acupuncture session, there is a reduced prevalence of inflammatory markers in the blood – interleukin 17 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha specifically. By helping clear the body of inflammation, acupuncture can mitigate the inflammatory processes that lead to HS flare-ups.
  • Improving circulation – Acupuncture can improve circulation by releasing vasodilators into the blood. These vasodilators, including nitric oxide, relax blood vessels and improve their hydraulic efficiency, which means they can pump blood faster. With better circulation, the body can more efficiently transport nutrition to affected sites and remove toxins faster.
  • Balancing hormones – In some HS patients, hormonal imbalances are believed to be a contributing factor. Acupuncture is used to restore proper hormone balance in a variety of conditions, including those that drive skin conditions like HS.
  • Helping with smoking cessation or weight loss – Acupuncture has long been used to help people quit smoking or improve weight loss results. In fact, there is a well-known set of acupuncture points that are used to help with smoking cessation. Many patients report a reduced desire to smoke following a run of acupuncture treatments, and research also shows that acupuncture can improve the chances of quitting smoking for good. This can help HS by removing some of the factors that may drive flare-ups.
  • Reducing stress and anxiety – Acupuncture is also effective at minimizing stress and anxiety, which can help patients maintain a healthy mindset relative to their HS and get better results from treatment, as a result.

Although more research is needed to confirm a beneficial link between acupuncture and hidradenitis suppurativa, the studies that do exist show that acupuncture can provide a range of benefits to patients. In particular, research suggests that acupuncture is particularly effective for perianal HS, according to a 2013 study published in Italian Journal of Dermatology and Venereology. ​​​​

Will Acupuncture Cause Additional Hidradenitis Suppurativa Pain?

In people with HS, the skin is sensitive to pain, so it’s natural to wonder if acupuncture will make the pain worse.

During treatment, acupuncture needles are not inserted into the areas where boils are located. They don’t need to be placed in the boils themselves to render treatment. Instead, the needles are inserted at defined acupuncture points that are located all over the body. Every patient receives customized treatment, and this extends to the exact acupuncture points used during therapy.

Your acupuncturist will work to minimize any discomfort during treatment, including avoiding any areas that may trigger HS pain.

Acupuncture Can Provide Effective Natural Treatment for Hidradenitis Suppurativa Patients

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a difficult condition to live with, and many treatments may only provide partial relief. If this is also the case for your HS, a Chinese medicine practitioner can provide several natural treatments for the condition. These treatments are tailored to every patient, as every patient’s HS and overall health is different. Work with a reputable Houston acupuncturist that has access to all the best tools for fighting hidradenitis suppurativa and can provide the right combination of treatment options for your HS.

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