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