Hidradenitis Suppurativa: How to reduce or rid the lesions.
Herbs can be a Skin’s Best Friend
Below is the story of a woman who was facing disfiguring surgery, and managed to evade it due to herbs and acupuncture at Red Aspen Wellness.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a skin disease that often effects the (apocrine) sweat glands underneath the skin. Though this is an infection, it is not contagious and because it is so rare, not that much is known about it. It is suspected that it is aggravated by stress or changes in hormones but even this has no confirmed pattern. Like most lovely and fun health concerns, it affects women more than men. Most commonly it develops as lesions on the skin that can be small or as large as a softball, there may be one or more present at any given time. Often mistaken for staph infections, they begin as red and painful swollen bumps, eventually “bursting” and draining, often reoccurring days or weeks or months later and often cause scarring. The biggest complaint is the pain, but others may suffer debilitating headaches, high fevers, or an overwhelming sensation of feeling run down.
Sadly, there is currently no known cure nor any consistently effective conventional treatment. Antibiotics are often used with some response of quicker healing of the breakout only for the lesions to return.
More traumatic therapies include radiation or surgery. The surgery can be extensive and major as they need to remove the skin and the underlying infected glands. Skin grafting is often involved.
Case Study: A woman had come to seek help from me at a point when Western medicine could only offer aggressive and disfiguring surgery for her HS. She had done about 6 rounds of antibiotics alone with just this recent outbreak with no progression. In fact, she was beginning to get them more frequently, getting 1-2 lesions a month.
Acupuncture alone was not going to be enough. This is systemic and going to need daily treatments via herbal and/or supplemental. I also needed her to be patient and have faith that should this be effective, it may not be a cure, but may help enough to be able to lead a normal life and stave off surgery. Luckily for her, she was patient as her results were rewarding and even more cost effective than the surgery, with zero adverse side effects.
We began weekly sessions of acupuncture for about 3 months and she took a custom blend of Chinese herbs and supplements every day. Her custom blended herbal formula she drank twice daily. I created a second herbal blend for her to administer topically, and had her apply it as a poultice daily and leave on for several hours. In addition to the Chinese herbs in the topical poultice I had her add Tea Tree Oil and Turmeric. She also took Turmeric orally. Both are strong antiseptics and Turmeric helps to purify and clean the blood.
For acupuncture, in addition to other points for her diagnosis, I would needle surrounding the area with past and present lesions to support qi and blood flow in the area, there by draining the glands and encourage the infection to move out. We could both notice a difference in the lesions during the acupuncture. After each session, I could notably feel how much softer the glands would be. I knew then that the rest would lie on her compliance and the effectiveness and correctness of the herbs in her packets.
Successfully, she began getting less and less lesions, and the presenting lesions would be less severe when they did happen. Almost two years later, she has been able to avoid surgery (!), and when time allows her to stay up with the acupuncture visits, she gets a lesion now only once every several months. A huge step from 1–2 a month.
Update 2014: She’s had only one lesion in the past year!
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