Staying Active and Living Healthily

Eating a balanced diet and keeping active has many benefits for people living with HS.1

Everyday tips:

  • Eat a balanced diet consisting of a variety of foods from the five main food groups.1-3

 >  Carbohydrates, e.g. whole grains, brown rice and yams.

 >  Protein, e.g. eggs, fish and meat.

 >  Milk and dairy, e.g. cheese and yoghurt.

 >  Fruit and vegetables.

 >  Fats, e.g. olive oil, olives and avocado.

  • Removing or restricting certain food groups may also help improve your HS symptoms:

 >  Some people benefit from removing dairy foods, and food and drink made by, or containing brewer's yeast e.g. bread, yeast extracts, beers and wines.2,4

>  Some people benefit from restricting intake of refined foods, and those rich in saturated and trans fats, as these can promote inflammation e.g. cakes, biscuits and crisps.5

People with other conditions (e.g. diabetes and heart failure) may need more tailored advice on their diet. Your doctor and/or dietician can advise you about the combinations of the five food groups that will work best for you, based on your health.

  • Talk to your doctor about what type of exercise is right for you.
  • Simply regularly taking the stairs instead of the escalator or the lift can help make a difference.
  • Activities with low physical contact, such as walking, Tai chi, yoga and swimming can help maintain a healthy weight.6
  • If you feel well enough, being active is a great way to stay fit and de-stress, but take care not to push yourself too much at first. For alternative ways to reduce stress and improve mindfulness take a look in the "Maintaining a Healthy Mind section".

Smoking has many negative impacts to health, and has been linked to the severity of HS symptons.9 Talk to your doctor about stopping smoking options available to help you.

These articles might interest you


  1. Living with Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. 2014-06-01
  2. Danby FW. Diet in the prevention of hidradenitis suppurativa (acne inversa). J Am Acad Dermatol 2015;73(5 Suppl 1):S62-5.
  3. How to have a balanced diet. Accessed April 2021.
  4. Cannistra C, et al. New perspectives in the treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa: Surgery and brewer’s yeast. Surgery 2014;156(3):736.
  5. Kiecolt-Glaser JK. Stress, Food, and Inflammation: Psychoneuroimmunology and Nutrition at the Cutting Edge. Psychosom Med 2010;72(4):365-9.
  6. Advance tissue. Exercise Options to Consider During Wound Care. Accessed April 2021.
  7. Wang S, et al. Hidradenitis Suppurativa: A Frequently Missed Diagnosis, Part 2: Treatment Options. Adv Skin Wound Care 2015;28(8):372-80.
  8. Ingram J. Hidradenitis suppurativa: an update. Clin Med (Lond) 2016;16(1):70-3.
  9. Alikhan A. Hidradenitis Suppurativa. JAMA Dermatol 2016;152(6):736.

AU-HUM-210057 August 2022.