What is Hidradenitis Suppuritiva & How is it Treated?

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Hidradenitis Suppuritiva or HS causes inflamed and painful swollen lesions in areas of the body where hair grows, such as the armpits, groin, anal regions and areas where skin often rubs together including around the breasts.

These lesions typically get infected, causing pus-filled pockets to form under the skin that turn into hard lumps that produce a constant discharge. HS is not contagious, and affects about .2% of people in the United States.

What Causes Hidradenitis Suppuritiva?

Hidradenitis Suppuritiva occurs when hair follicles or sweat glands become blocked by excess keratin, leading to inflammation, redness and infection.

There is no clear-cut reason to why certain individuals experience HS, but there are a few factors known to increase your risk, including:

  • Smoking
  • High levels of stress
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal changes

HS commonly occurs by the age of 20 and tends to burn out around the age of 40. It occurs more often in women than in men, and more often in African Americans than Caucasians.

What are the Symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppuritiva?

Symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppuritiva include:

  • Blackheads that appear in a double-barreled pattern
  • Red bumps filled with fluid
  • Hard, painful lumps under the skin
  • Any seepage of pus from under the skin

Some of the first signs of HS are blackheads or recurring lesions on armpits, groin or anal region.

What are the Treatment Options for Hidradenitis Suppuritiva?

Until recently, there have been very few treatments for Hidradenitis Suppuritiva. While there is no permanent cure for HS, there are several Hidradenitis Suppuritiva treatments that can help patients manage the symptoms.

  • Medications: Oral and topical antibiotics are often used to treat the infected area, minimize its effect and prevent recurrence
  • Biologics: Humira is an injection that helps calm down inflammation from the inside out and alleviate symptoms on a continuous basis
  • Corticosteroid Injections: Injecting steroids into the infected area can help to alleviate inflammation and swelling
  • Surgical Procedures: In severe cases, surgery is an option to remove the lesions, abscesses, and scarring in the area. Surgical procedures can cut away the infected skin, or drain the area

When seeing a dermatologist for HS, be sure to tell your doctor when and where it started, how many courses of antibiotics you’ve been on, how many times you’ve had surgery or lancing and where on the body. This will give your dermatologist a history of the duration and treatment you’ve had so far.

At-home remedies for Hidradenitis Suppuritiva can help patients to manage the condition and pain. Some steps to take at home include:

  • Embracing a healthy lifestyle and well-balanced diet
  • Focusing on good hygiene in the impacted areas
  • Avoiding tight clothes
  • Decreasing smoking

While Hidradenitis Suppurativa impacts a small number of individuals, the painful symptoms are often detrimental to happiness and quality of life. Seeking treatment from a professional is the best way to take control of the disease.

Visit Windsor Dermatology for a Consultation

You don’t have to suffer through the painful symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppuritiva. If you are experiencing symptoms, call Windsor Dermatology today to schedule a consultation. Our cutting-edge treatments and expert dermatologists are here to help!


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