What is hidradenitis suppurativa? — Hidradenitis suppurativa is a condition that causes red, swollen, painful bumps to form on the body, usually in places where the skin rubs together. These bumps can cause so much pain that they make it hard to move. They can smell bad or drain pus or blood. The bumps also tend to linger for weeks or months and keep coming back.
People who have hidradenitis suppurativa, also called "HS," often have a hard time dealing with their problem. It can make them feel embarrassed and worried. Sometimes the condition can even cause problems in relationships, or in the workplace. If you have this problem, see a doctor or nurse. There are treatments that can help you.
What are the symptoms of HS? — The main symptoms are red, swollen, painful bumps. These bumps can drain pus or blood.
The bumps usually form in places where the skin rubs together. Common locations include:
On or under the breasts (in women)
In the groin area
Around or near the anus
The skin problems caused by HS last a long time and get worse over time. Often the skin hardens and scars around the painful bumps. Plus, many bumps can form in a single area and sometimes form tunnels under the skin (figure 1).
Should I see a doctor or nurse? — Yes. If you have symptoms of HS, see a doctor or nurse. He or she can look at your skin and find out if HS is the cause of your symptoms. Make sure you tell the doctor or nurse if you feel sad or embarrassed because of your symptoms. The doctor or nurse can help you deal with these problems.
It's also important to see your doctor regularly if you have HS. People with HS have a higher chance of getting other health problems, too, such as diabetes and heart disease. Your doctor can check for these problems and suggest treatment if needed.
How is HS treated? — Treatment can include:
Antibiotic liquids or gels that you put on the affected areas
Antibiotic pills, which you might need to take for a long time
Injections of steroid medicines into affected areas to bring down inflammation
Hormone pills for women with HS
A medicine called adalimumab (brand name: Humira)
There are other medicines and treatments that might help people with HS. People with severe, long-lasting problems can have surgery that helps HS to heal.
Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better? — Yes. First, you should know that you did not do anything to cause your condition. It is not your fault. You did not cause it by being unclean. You should also know that you cannot spread your condition to anyone else. It is not "contagious."
Here are some things you can do to reduce your symptoms:
Stop smoking, if you smoke. People who smoke are more likely to have HS
Shower every day and wash areas of HS gently with your fingers. Do not scrub affected areas with a washcloth, loofah, or brush.
Wear loose, light clothing instead of tight-fitting clothes on areas where you have HS
Lose weight, if you are overweight. HS is more common and more severe in people who are overweight.
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This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Mar 30, 2020.
Topic 83523 Version 7.0
Release: 28.2.2 - C28.105
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