HHidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) usually begins as pimple-like bumps on the skin, generally in hair bearing areas, such as the underarm and groin.

HS can look very similar to common conditions like folliculitis, boils, or regular acne, so it is best to have a board-certified dermatologist evaluate and diagnose. Beginning treatment early can prevent the condition from worsening and causing scarring. If left untreated the bumps can grow deeper into the skin and become painful, and ultimately rupture or form extensive sinus tracts.

There are a variety of strategies for relieving an outbreak, and reducing the occurrence of future outbreaks. Your doctor will customize an approach based on the severity of your condition.

Treatment options include:

  • Warm compress

  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen

  • Naproxen

  • Antibiotics – oral and topical

  • Corticosteroids – injected by your doctor into the bumps

  • Oral retinoids – acitretin and isotretinoin

  • Hormone therapy – birth control pills or a drug called spironolactone may help women

  • Biologic therapy – TNF and interleukin-1 blockade to decrease inflammation

  • Surgical ablation for extensive involvement

Lifestyle changes to reduce flare-ups:

  • Lose extra weight – reducing areas of skin that rub together will help reduce flare-ups

  • Quit smoking

  • Stop shaving in affected areas

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes to reduce friction on the skin

  • Personal hygiene – wash affected areas gently every day with an antimicrobial product

Lifestyle changes can bring relief and minimize flare-ups, but frequently physician guided treatment is necessary.