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Hidradenitis suppurativa: a pimple-like condition of the skin

What is Hidradenitis suppurativa?

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic, painful and a pimple-like condition of the skin. However, these pimple-like bumps arise in places where pimples do not normally occur, like in the armpits, groin, buttocks or breasts. It primarily affects a kind of sweat glands known as apocrine glands.

Hidradenitis suppurativa

Women are more likely to be affected than men by this inflammation. Globally, 1% of the population is believed to be affected by this condition.

Causes

The exact cause of this inflammatory condition is not known. It occurs primarily due to the blockage of hair follicles and sweat glands. The exact cause why this blockage occurs is not clearly known.

Symptoms

The symptoms include:

  • The presence of painful bumps
  • The bumps grow, become inflamed and release pus
  • The bumps can arise in areas where skin friction is encountered
  • Itching and foul odour
  • Scarring
  • Tunnels between abscesses

Risk factors

  • Family history
  • Obesity and insulin resistance
  • Smoking
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Diagnosis

There are no specialised tests to diagnose this inflammatory condition. Your doctor can examine your skin for diagnosis.

Treatment

Hidradenitis suppurativa

Being a chronic disease, it requires a long-term management that can include the use of:

  • Antibiotics: It includes the long-term prescription of a combination of oral or topical antibiotics.
  • Antiseptics: To clean the affected areas, appropriate antiseptics are prescribed.
  • Immunomodulators can be prescribed.
  • Surgical management includes incision and drainage of abscesses, laser ablation, etc.

Prevention

There are no specific approaches to prevent it. However, following tips can be helpful:

  • Avoid wearing tight and synthetic clothing
  • Losing weight and adopting a healthy lifestyle with enough sleep
  • Stop smoking, if you smoke
  • Avoid shaving the affected area
  • Do not use perfume or deodorants in such regions

Complications

The possible complications can include:

  • Scarring and skin changes
  • Infections
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Restricted movement

Next Steps

If you have been diagnosed with hidradenitis suppurativa, complete your antibiotic course, and take any other medications prescribed by your doctor. Adopt a healthy lifestyle and visit your doctor for follow-up visits.

Consult a top Dermatologist

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References

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  • Hidradenitis suppurativa. New Zealand Dermatological Society. http://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/hidradenitis-suppurativa/. Accessed 18 Jan. 17.
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). NHSChoices. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hidradenitis-suppurativa/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Accessed 18 Jan. 17.
  • HIDRADENITIS SUPPURATIVA: OVERVIEW. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/painful-skin-joints/hidradenitis-suppurativa. Accessed 18 Jan. 17.

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