How To Win Against HS, Step 1 of 3

No Cure ≠ No Hope

Hidradenitis suppurativa is an inflammatory skin disease. There might not be a cure, but hope does exist. By learning more about inflammation, what causes it, and how to prevent it, we have a fighting chance to win against HS.

Step 1: Heart

I’m not speaking literally about the hunks of muscle pumping blood through our veins. I’m speaking about what makes us, us—the people we are that have nothing to do with our physical selves—our hearts. You may not relate heart-break with any sort of physical manifestation, but over a long period of time, heart-break can significantly impact physical health. Long-term (chronic) discontentment may be just as damaging as physical poison.

Step one is taking a step back to examine the condition of our hearts.

Ever hear the saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? For those of us with hidradenitis suppurativa, this common saying translates into preventing inflammation.

Our job in this step of the process is to look behind us at what we’ve allowed in, and identify the poisons and mistakes that have been actively destroying our health up to this point in time.

  • Stress
  • Burnout
  • Gossip
  • Anxiety
  • Judgement
  • Negative Self-Talk

And this is just the short list. There are dozens more….

Why Heart Matters

Our hearts are the foundation upon which we build our Win Against HS goal. We need to build on something stable. We need bedrock. Hurts continually flowing in are the flood-waters that erode foundations built on sand. That’s not what we’re looking for.

Mending Hearts

Cleaning up what we allow into our lives is often about identifying needs, and more importantly, figuring out how to meet them appropriately!

For whatever reason, we often think putting a round peg in a square hole solves the problem—for instance, it’s common sense that cookies (or whatever your guilty pleasures might be) don’t remedy stress at work. But unfortunately, when we get stressed out, we reach for the cookies. We get stuck in a pattern of expecting a body solution to meat a heart need.

That’s no good.

We’re able to begin overcoming hurts by dissecting what’s past. A helpful method is listing out areas of discontentment.

If your list of hurts is pretty straight forward, and the changes necessary to overcoming them and stop them from continuing in the future is painless, you’re probably ready to move on to Step 2 (body).

If your list of hurts isn’t easily overcome—you’ve got a lot of unmet needs, notice a consistent round-peg/square-hole pattern, or see that overcoming specific hurts of yours affects others as well (like significant relationships, your career, etc.)—get help.

Your comfort level with making the necessary changes to overcome whatever is hurting you determines what kind of help you need. A late night call to a friend or family member may do the trick. Or, maybe it won’t. Coaches like me can help encourage behavior change through education, encouragement, and support—with you ultimately calling the shots. Counselors may offer more specific advice on how to approach specific issues like legal cases, financial matters, mental-health, substance abuse, etc.

Regardless of the depth of your hurt, rest assured, there are trained professionals able to help you through a myriad of difficult life circumstances. If you need professional help to overcome your past hurts, your employer is often times a great starting point. Many employers offer free employee assistance programs (EAPs) that will help connect you with qualified professionals in whatever area you require. EAPs may even cover a few sessions with those professionals at no cost to you.

The Gist

Diet change is often the first (and sometimes only) step taken to reduce the systemic inflammation that triggers HS flares. Unfortunately, diet is a body change that doesn’t do much to mend broken hearts. Body changes are useful tools in reducing and preventing systemic inflammation, but without a heart in good condition, they may be the round-peg/square-hole scenario we need to avoid.

If your heart is hurting, it’s definitely not helping your HS… so take care of it!


What do you think?

Have you noticed a link between the condition of your heart and HS flares?

Let me know in the comments!

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