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Overview of Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradenitis suppurativa is rare skin disease that affects people mostly in areas where there is a lot of friction. Hidradenitis suppurativa manifests itself in armpits, the groin, the anal area and underneath breasts. This may explain why women are more likely to experience hidradenitis suppurativa than men and why it generally appears after puberty.


Hidradenitis suppurativa is a condition that manifests itself usually in the form of painful bumps under the skin that cause long term discomfort. It is not contagious, nor is it a sign of poor hygiene.


Overview of Hidradenitis Suppurativa


In this post, we’ll explore the symptoms and causes of hidradenitis suppurativa as well as treatment tips experts have developed over time.


Causes of Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradenitis suppurativa bumps occur in hair follicles near oil and sweat glands. When combined with constant rubbing and friction, along with other factors, hidradenitis suppurativa develops.


Experts don’t exactly know  all the variables and factors that contribute to hidradenitis suppurativa. But they do know that certain hair follicles eventually become blocked and inflamed and form uncomfortable bumps and tunnels in the skin.


This is not to say that hidradenitis suppurativa is caused by an infection or oil and sweat. Hidradenitis suppurativa is also not an issue of cleanliness as those who take great care of their personal grooming are also affected by the disease. Blockages can happen to anyone and a variety of factors can contribute one’s likelihood of developing this condition.


Causes of Hidradenitis Suppurativa


Some factors experts say increase one’s risk for hidradenitis suppurativa include:


Genetics - Experts have found that those with a family history of hidradenitis suppurativa are more likely to develop the condition than those without it. It’s safe to assume that genetics play a factor.


Age - Most people who experience hidradenitis suppurativa are in their 20s. Although it can happen anytime after puberty and into one’s 40s.


Sex - Most people who experience hidradenitis suppurativa are women. This is because women generally develop larger breasts and hips than men allowing a greater number of hair follicles to experience constant rubbing and possible blockage.

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Other Conditions And Diseases - Many who develop hidradenitis suppurativa had other skin and health conditions previously. These conditions include, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), Crohn’s disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes and severe acne.


Smoking - Tobacco use has been connected to hidradenitis suppurativa development as well.


Symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa

We know what areas of the body this rare disease affects the most; namely the breasts, buttocks, groin and armpits. We also know that hidradenitis suppurativa is not just limited to one area. It can develop on multiple parts of the body at once and can get worse over time. Some people however only experience mild effects and are not bothered by the condition as much as others.


Symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa


The signs and symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa include:


Tender Bumps - There are two kind of bumps people with hidradenitis suppurativa will experience. The first are soft, tender bumps. These bumps are usually pus filled and may burst over time due to constant rubbing contact. The pus may emit a certain odor that most find unpleasant.


Large Painful Bumps - These larger bumps are usually hard and they’re about the size of a pea. These bumps tend to last longer and are more likely to grow and become inflamed when irritated.


Tunnels Under The Skin - People usually experience multiple bumps in one area. These bumps are connected by tracts under the skin also known as tunnels. Tunnels may contain pus like the tender bumps. They are also very difficult to get rid of. It normally takes a long time for the body to heal these skin tunnels if they ever heal at all.


If you experience one or more of these symptoms you should schedule an appointment with a doctor so they can go over treatment options and care tips with you.


Hidradenitis Suppurativa Treatment Tips

Currently there is no cure for hidradenitis suppurativa but there are still treatment options available to help reduce the effects of the condition.


Some treatment options for hidradenitis suppurativa include:


Medications  - Doctors have a variety of medications that can help reduce various symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa. Steroid medications injected directly into the bumps or ingested orally have been shown to reduce inflammation. Pain medication handles the discomfort bumps as well. Immunosuppressants have been found to help aid in the reduction of hidradenitis suppurativa symptoms too.


Topical Treatments - Antibiotic ointments and other creams and lotions have been found to help reduce hidradenitis suppurativa as well.


Surgery - Some doctors recommend surgery in order to help heal tunnels and to prevent hidradenitis suppurativa from affecting a larger area than it already has. For example, skin grafts have been shown to help fight the disease in certain instances.



Hidradenitis suppurativa is a rare skin disease that we would all like to avoid if possible. But it’s still a possibility that some will develop this condition over the course of their life. Although there is no cure, there are ways to reduce this condition’s symptoms to make living with hidradenitis suppurativa easier.