What You Need to Know about Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a skin disease that appears similar to pimples or boils at first but in areas not usually associated with acne. These irritated spots grow and eventually cause a lot of discomfort and scarring. There is still a lot that isn’t understood about what stimulates the disease, but treatments for ongoing symptoms are accessible.

What Causes the Disease?

While doctors aren’t entirely sure of the exact source for the condition, it’s believed that blocked hair follicles may be one of the causes. Doctors are fairly certain that components of typical hygiene routines such as shaving, using deodorants, or not cleaning thoroughly would not cause someone to contract the disease.

While there is no clear-cut reason to why certain individuals experience the condition, there are a few factors that increase your risk, including:

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


There is also no evidence that Hidradenitis Suppurativa can be caught from other individuals who already have it; it is not a contagious illness.

What Are Some of the Symptoms?

The condition is most frequently found in areas of the body with more sweat glands or where two sections of skin rub against one another repeatedly. These include but are not limited to: the groin, buttocks, inner thighs, underneath breasts and armpits. One or more of these areas develop typical symptoms somewhere between puberty and middle age. You should contact a dermatologist if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Pimples and blackheads that appear in a double-barreled pattern
  • Hard, painful lumps under the skin
  • Large, red bumps that break and leak an odorous pus
  • Tracts or tunnels that develop beneath the skin
  • Any seepage of pus from under the skin


Symptoms may become worse over time or with changes in hormones, humid climates, added stress or weight gain. Individuals experiencing symptoms should exercise caution, as infection could develop if the disease goes untreated. Often, the scars left behind from sores and tunnels can make movement difficult or uncomfortable.

What Treatments Are Available?

Doctors cannot cure Hidradenitis Suppurativa, but early and consistent treatment can manage the condition and help prevent future flare ups. Some of the available treatments include:

Medications: Oral and topical antibiotics are often used to treat the infected area, minimize its effect, and prevent reoccurrence.

Corticosteroid Injections: Steroids can be injected into the infected area to alleviate inflammation and swelling.

 Surgical Procedures: In those with severe HS, surgery becomes an option to remove the lesions, abscesses, and scarring in the area. Some surgical procedures cut away the infected skin and others drain the area. Your dermatologist will discuss the likely effectiveness of these procedures, dependent on the severity and location of your lesions.

While there is no permanent cure, there are several Hidradenitis Suppurativa treatments that help patients manage their symptoms. You can learn more about Hidradenitis Suppurativa research, recent clinical trials and how Windsor Dermatology is working towards improved treatments and outcomes for patients. Watch the 2018 roundtable featuring Dr. Bagel by clicking here.

What Lifestyle Changes Can Help?

You may find some relief by altering your routines at home. Discuss any changes you plan to make with your doctor first, to confirm they will be best suited for your particular healthcare needs and treatment plan.

  • Avoid smoking, skin irritants and tight clothing
  • Be careful not to further injure the skin by picking at sores
  • Consider the effects of your dietary choices
  • Maintain your weight at a healthy level and get active
  • Develop an appropriate skin-care regiment

Whether you may be developing symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa, or you’re looking for better management of your pre-existing condition, you should contact a dermatologist. Consider booking a consultation with the experienced professionals at Windsor Dermatology in East Windsor, New Jersey. Only with the proper diagnosis and care can you best navigate life with Hidradenitis Suppurativa. Call the office at 609-443-4500 or request an appointment online today!

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