New perspectives in the treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa: surgery and brewer's yeast-exclusion diet

Surgery. 2013 Nov;154(5):1126-30. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2013.04.018. Epub 2013 Jul 25.


Background: Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), or acne inversa, is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by abscesses, fistulating sinus tracts, and scarring. The exact pathogenesis of this disease remains unclear. We present our experience with HS and a possible cause of the disease and offer a surgical and clinical treatment that allows for disease resolution.

Methods: We studied 12 patients who presented with axillary and perineal fistulas and underwent surgical excision (repaired by skin grafts or healing by secondary intention) or localized treatments followed by diet modification. All patients were found to have a specific immunology IgG reaction to brewer's yeast and wheat and were put on a controlled brewer's yeast-free diet for 12 months and followed monthly.

Results: The diet demonstrated immediate stabilization of their clinical symptoms, and the skin lesions regressed over the 12-month treatment period. Similarly, all the patients demonstrated an immediate recurrence of skin lesions following accidental or voluntary consumption of beer or other foods containing brewer's yeast or wheat. The patients also demonstrated a return of their quality of life and activities, including the reestablishment of sexual activity in the patients with inguinal and perigenital lesions.

Conclusion: The results of the investigation suggested that the patients had severe reactions to brewer's yeast. Surgery followed by the elimination of the foods containing or made with the yeast resulted in a rapid stabilization of the dermatologic manifestation and a slow, but complete, regression of the skin lesions within a year. Despite the small number of patients in our study, our study could provide the basis for extensive and multicentric studies in order to better investigate this disabling and rare disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fistula / etiology
  • Fistula / surgery
  • Food Hypersensitivity / complications*
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / diet therapy*
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / etiology
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / immunology*
  • Triticum / adverse effects*
  • Triticum / immunology*
  • Young Adult