Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a painful, irreversible skin problem that causes abscesses and scarring on the skin.

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The exact cause of hidradenitis suppurativa is unknown, however it occurs close to hair follicles where there space sweat glands, usually about the groin, bottom, breasts and armpits.

For reasons that room unknown, more women than men have actually the condition. It's thought to affect around 1 in 100 people.


The symptom of hidradenitis suppurativa range indigenous mild come severe.

It causes a mixture of boil-like lumps, blackheads, cysts, scarring and channels in the skin that leak pus.

Hidradenitis suppurativa can cause fleshy lumps to grow on the surface of the skin
Sometimes, narrow networks (sinus tracts) kind under the skin, i beg your pardon can an outbreak on the surface and leak pus

The problem tends to start with a for sure pea-sized lump that creates in one place. This will either disappear or rupture and leak pus ~ a couple of hours or days.

New lumps will certainly then often develop in one area nearby. If these space not regulated with medicine, larger lumps might develop and also spread. Narrow networks called sinus tracts also form under the skin that an outbreak on the surface and leak pus.

Hidradenitis suppurativa deserve to be very painful. The lumps construct on the skin in the adhering to areas:

around the groin and genitalsin the armpitson the bottom and also around the anusbelow the breasts

The abscesses may likewise spread come the nape that the neck, waistband and inner thighs. Other isolated locations that have been known to be influenced include the prior or ago of the legs, the sides, the earlier area and also the face.

Some of the lumps may become infected with bacteria, resulting in a second infection the will should be treated v antibiotics.

Many human being with hidradenitis suppurativa additionally develop a pilonidal sinus, i m sorry is a small hole or "tunnel" in the skin.

What causes hidradenitis suppurativa?

The exact cause of hidradenitis suppurativa is unknown, yet the lumps develop as a result of clogged hair follicles.

Smoking and obesity are both strongly linked with hidradenitis suppurativa, and also if you're obese and/or acting it will certainly make her symptoms worse.

Hidradenitis suppurativa generally starts approximately puberty, yet it can take place at any type of age. It's much less common prior to puberty and also after the menopause, i m sorry may suggest that sex hormone play a part. Many civilization with the condition also have acne and excessive hair development (hirsutism).

In rare cases, hidradenitis suppurativa may be attached to Crohn's disease, an especially if it develops about the groin area and the skin close to the anus. Crohn's condition is a long-term problem that reasons the lining that the digestive device to come to be inflamed.

Hidradenitis suppurativa runs in families in around 1 in 3 cases. It's not infectious and also isn't attached to bad hygiene.

Diagnosing hidradenitis suppurativa

There's no critical test to help diagnose hidradenitis suppurativa.

A GP will examine the affected areas that skin, and they might take a swab of an infected area. This deserve to be beneficial in make a diagnosis since the condition is no usually connected with the visibility of bacteria that cause skin infections.

Hidradenitis suppurativa could be mistaken because that acne or structure hairs.

Treating hidradenitis suppurativa

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a lifelong, recurring condition that is often daunting to manage.

It's crucial to recognise and diagnose the condition in its early on stages to avoid it gaining worse.

In the beforehand stages, it may be managed with medicine. Surgery may be forced in severe or persistent cases.


If you have actually lumps that are specifically painful, inflamed and also oozing pus, you might be prescribed a 1- or 2-week food of antibiotics, as you may have an infection. However, in hidradenitis suppurativa, a secondary bacterial epidemic is no that common, for this reason a swab the the affected area have to be taken.

If bacterial epidemic is no present, low doses that antibiotics might be used to stop inflammation. This much longer course the antibiotics will certainly last at least 3 months, to alleviate the variety of lumps that develop.

You may be provided antibiotics together a cream (topical) or as a tablet, capsule or liquid. Antibiotic species can include erythromycin, lymecycline, doxycycline and tetracycline.

In severe instances of hidradenitis suppurativa, a mix of clindamycin and also rifampicin can be effective, but these antibiotics are usually prescribed by dermatologists fairly than GPs.


Antiseptic washes, such as 4% chlorhexidine, used daily to impacted areas room often prescribed alongside other treatments.


Retinoids, such as isotretinoin and also acitretin, room vitamin-A based medicines. They space not as reliable for treating hidradenitis suppurativa together they are for dealing with acne, yet they may aid some people.

Retinoids are always prescribed through dermatologists. Lock must be provided with caution and also cannot it is in taken throughout pregnancy. 


If hidradenitis suppurativa flares up prior to a period you may benefit from taking the merged contraceptive pill.

Immunosuppressive therapies (infliximab and adalimumab)

In severe instances of hidradenitis suppurativa, therapies that suppress the immune system, such as adalimumab can be useful.

However, there are risks associated with suppressing the immune system, therefore they space usually only prescribed by a dermatologist if various other treatments perform not work.

Infliximab and adalimumab room immunosuppressive therapies that are provided by injection at continual intervals one of two people at residence or in hospital.


Rarely, you may be prescribed steroids, such together prednisolone, to mitigate severely inflamed skin. Steroids can be taken together tablets, or you may have actually an injection straight into impacted skin.

Possible side effects of steroids include weight gain, bad sleep and mood swings.

Read an ext about the side effects of steroid tablets and steroid injections.


Surgery may be considered in situations where hidradenitis suppurativa can not be managed with medicine.

Lifestyle advice

If you have actually hidradenitis suppurativa friend should:

use one antiseptic skin wash or antiseptic soap – this might be prescribed alongside various other treatmenthold a heat flannel on the lumps to encourage the pus to drainwear loose-fitting clothesavoid shaving influenced skin and avoid attract perfume or perfumed deodorants in the affected areas


Although hidradenitis suppurativa deserve to persist for plenty of years, if it's diagnosed beforehand the symptoms can be improved with treatment.

However, the problem can have actually a far-ranging impact on a person's daily life. Having actually to regularly change dressings and also constantly live with the pain and discomfort of the symptoms can affect your high quality of life and also lead come depression.

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Speak to a GP if you're finding it complicated to cope. Charities, such as The Hidradenitis Suppurativa Trust, can also carry out help and support.