If you’ve ever noticed that eating certain foods leads to a hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) flare, you’re in good company. Many members on myHSteam notice that common ingredients like dairy and sugar trigger their HS symptoms. While there isn’t definitive data that prove that specific foods cause HS exacerbations, there is limited evidence that avoiding dairy, sugar, and brewer’s yeast (found in bread and beer) can improve symptoms for some people with HS.
For some with HS, avoiding foods that cause flares is one of the best ways to manage their skin symptoms. “I feel that managing my diet and avoiding my trigger foods helps me the most,” one member wrote. “I'm slowly but surely changing my eating habits, and I see major changes,” another member agreed.
Some myHSteam members discover their trigger foods by chance, while others identify foods to avoid through an elimination diet. One of the most common trigger foods mentioned on myHSteam is dairy. One member commented, “With extreme diligence and help from my family and friends, I can prevent severe flare-ups by avoiding foods or drinks with any milk.” Sugary, fried, and processed foods are also problematic for some members.
Foods that trigger hidradenitis suppurativa flares vary greatly from person to person. One member identified potatoes and tomatoes as triggers. Others avoid peanuts, peppers, cashews, and caffeine.
Sticking to a strict diet or avoiding common foods can be challenging. “If I could become determined enough to never eat out and make my lunches for work, I think I could completely control my boils,” one member shared.
Having support from friends and family can make avoiding triggering foods easier. “All my friends and family actively help me to avoid anything with milk,” the same member commented. “They even found me many dairy-free alternatives to cheese, ice cream, sour cream, and whipped cream.”
On myHSteam, the social network and online support group for those living with hidradenitis suppurativa, members talk about a range of personal experiences and struggles. Diet and flare triggers are some of the most discussed topics.
Here are some conversations about diet and flare triggers:
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