Date: July 30, 2012 06:30PM
dominikki, I went around and around with my gynecologist when it first showed up: she tested me for STDs - every one, even though I told her DH was faithful and I hadn't strayed either. Negative. She took a small biopsy of a lesion when it was inflamed. Nothing but "generalized inflammation".
So she sent me to a pelvic-floor specialist in Philadelphia. I was told it was an inflammatory condition, and auto-immune related, so most likely HS. I'd never heard of it before. At first she thought it was lichens something or the other, then said it wasn't. She did a series of hoo-ha injections that did nothing to help, suggested excisional surgery as a possibility. I left and didn't go back - and up until last December suffered regularly from flare ups that made it very hard to sit or even walk at times.
One thing I did do years ago was give up caffeine, which seemed to aggravate and make the flares much worse. That helped, but I was still suffering regularly.
Imagine my delight when changing my diet last November seemed to make such a drastic difference.
Before changing my diet, I was eating a very low-fat, relatively high carb (lots of veggies and whole grain products) and very lean proteins.
The Paleo diet is a simple concept, but it is a huge change for most people: it cuts out all processed foods, cuts out all grains and grain products (bread, pasta, cereal, etc), cuts out all sugar and anything with added sugars, eliminates industrial seed oils (canola, corn, "vegetable", soybean, etc), and is restrictive about things like fruits due to sugar content. Also low on starchy things like potatoes. Officially it cuts out dairy, but I cheat and have a little full fat heavy cream in my decaf and cook with butter and hard cheese.
So what do I eat? Lots of saturated fat from whole animal and plant sources, followed by a modest (maybe 25%) amount of protein, and rounded out by non-starchy vegetables, mainly dark leafy greens. I eat fruit maybe once or twice a week at most. I try to buy grass-fed or pastured sources of animal protein or fats, but it's expensive so I can't always do it.
Reason for grass-fed being preferential is its desired balance of protective omega-3 fatty acids vs. pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Industrial raised and feedlot animals are fed grain instead of their natural food of grass, this fattens them up quickly (note: grain fattens cattle fast) but also raises the omega 6 balance.
Anyway, typical day for me: breakfast was a 3 egg omelette with cheddar cheese and mushrooms and 4 slices of bacon, plus decaf americano with heavy cream. Lunch was arugula salad with a sliced up avocado, leftover chicken with skin on, and simple dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and cracked black pepper. Dinner will be grilled flank steak and roasted asparagus smothered in homemade hollandaise sauce.
Sometimes I'll sub out the omelette with a berry crumble made with blueberries, nuts, butter, vanilla and cinnamon. I've also made a creamy butternut squash/coconut milk "hot cereal" as well as a pureed almond/walnut "hot cereal".
Eating this way does require a bit of meal planning ahead of time, which some find onerous, and it's not easy to "eat out" since restaurants revolve around high carbs, sugar and seed oils, but the incredible relief I've had has been so sweet after 15+ years of suffering that I can't imagine not eating this way. I initially started Paleo to lose more weight on top of what I'd already lost by semi-starving myself. I had no idea it would also help with HS but it has. I'm also never hungry (except for right before the 2 or 3 meals I might eat a day - the bigger the breakfast, I am sometimes not hungry until dinner).
Some good starting sources of paleo lifestyle and closely related subjects:http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/http://coolinginflammation.blogspot.com/search/label/anti-inflammatory%20diethttp://jackkruse.com/easy-start-guide/
Finally, I can't recommend highly enough three books: Robb Wolf "The Paleo Solution", Dr. William Davis "Wheat Belly", and Gary Taubes "Why We Get Fat."