Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a skin condition often misdiagnosed as boils, cysts, or severe acne. There is no cure for this disease and while it is considered rare the reason may be that many individuals are too embarrassed (or often misdiagnosed) to receive treatment. Hidradenitis Suppurativa is manageable with many options ranging from medical to home remedies.
Please note that I am not a doctor but I do have personal knowledge of this disease. I believe in the importance of sharing this information with you-in laymen’s terms and with proper respect to my sources, of course. If you believe you may be affected by Hidradenitis Suppurativa, the following information will provide you with enough knowledge to take the next step in managing your condition.
What is it?
A skin condition that shows up as blackheads and/or red bumps (often believed to be cysts) that can be painful and sensitive. Hidradenitis Suppurativa occurs when one’s oil glands become clogged and interfere with hair follicles located in areas of the body prone to sweat (e.g., armpits, groin areas, inner thighs, under breasts, etc.). Excess bacteria in these areas may cause inflammation and infection.
Many experts are reluctant to blame any one factor for Hidradenitis Suppurativa; however, obesity, smoking, gender, hormones, and genetics play a major role in whether you could be at risk for this disease. Anyone can become affected but the above factors make an individual more likely to develop symptoms at any time-especially between puberty and 40 (years of age).
The symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa may be pitted areas of the skin, marked by blackheads; red bumps that become enlarged and can break and drain foul-smelling pus; small bumps under the skin that grow over time-sometimes years-before becoming an issue; itching, burning, excessive sweating in areas where skin to skin contact is frequent; and painful bumps that leak, heal slowly, disappear for a time (returning in the same spot repeatedly), and can permanently scar the affected area.
The complications of Hidradenitis Suppurativa are many and include tracts of bumps that may travel-causing new sores to develop; severe scarring, and repeated outbreaks. Avoiding certain foods, perfumed products (soaps, laundry detergents, etc.), losing weight and not smoking will help reduce the complications of Hidradenitis Suppurativa but once afflicted an individual will have this disease-with varied occurrences-for life.
There are several management treatments for Hidradenitis Suppurativa, including medical care and home remedies.
Medical treatments include:
Oral retinoid medication
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Corticosteroids or immunosuppressant therapies
Surgery-to drain the lesions, uncover tracts of bumps and/or remove affected areas of skin
Home remedies include:
Applying warm compresses to reduce swelling
Using antibacterial soap
Wearing loose-fitting clothing
Avoiding shaving areas where skin is broken out
Quitting smoking, reducing weight, avoiding certain foods (e.g., sugary and high carb foods), and staying away from certain body care products may help reduce outbreaks of Hidradenitis Suppurativa.
Every person affected by this disease may experience varied symptoms at different times and for multiple reasons. Again, I am no expert but if you believe you may be afflicted with Hidradenitis Suppurativa the best course of action is to research this disease, become knowledgeable, seek medical advice, and follow the regimen your doctor prescribes. Becoming proactive about this condition will also help you avoid other complications associated with Hidradenitis Suppurativa, such as depression, embarrassment, and (possibly) misguided medical advice.
There you have it-Hidradenitis Suppurativa-in laymen’s terms. The information I have provided only highlights what you need to know if you believe you have this disease. Please click any of the links found in the reference section for more information, pictures (please be advised of the graphic and sensitive nature of all pictures provided), and support for Hidradenitis Suppurativa.
American Osteopathic College of Dermatology
More information about Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Pictures, view at your own discretion-courtesy of © DermAtlas, Johns Hopkins University; 2000-2010 Bernard A. Cohen, MD, Christoph U. Lehmann, MD