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Hidradenitis Suppurativa - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Hidradenitis is a chronic and often disabling disease of the apocrine glands, which is characterized by intermittent periods of inflammation.It typically manifests itself as a progression from single boil-like, pus-filled abscesses, or hard sebaceous lumps, to painful, deep-seated clusters of lesions with chronic seepage involving significant scarring.

It generally effects inverse areas of the body, top of inner thighs, bottom, genitals, armpits and less commonly the stomach, hair line and behind the ears. In women it can also occur under the breasts. It is similar to acne, which is also a disease of the same type of glands.Females are more likely to develop this disease than males. Hidradenitis is more common in people who have had acne.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa shows in three stages:

  1. A few minor sites with rare inflammation.
  2. May be frequent inflammations, restricting movement and require minor surgery.
  3. Generally inflammation of sites to the size of golf balls, scarring develops, including infection .Patients at this stage may be unable to function.


The possible symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa are as:-

  • Single or multiple areas of inflammation and pus, similar to acne in appearance.
  • In general Painful, rounded deep-rooted inflamed lumps.
  • There may be chances of fever.
  • There is tenderness in the affected areas.
  • Boils just under the skin.
  • The disease may be accompanied by the discharge of pus through specially formed tracts.
  • The patient may suffer from weight loss.
  • Rarely condition can become extensive thus preventing a person from performing normal work functions.


Causes of hidradenitis suppurativa are not known.but some observatory causes are as:-

  • Sex hormones: Apocrine sweat glands are stimulated by androgen and suppressed by oestrogen.
  • Poor hygiene is not a cause hidradenitis suppurativa .
  • Genetics : The disease generally affects multiple members of a family.
  • Smoking: It occurs more frequently in smokers than non-smokers.
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa is a non-contagious skin disease.
  • Stress, the onset of the menstrual period, extreme heat or excessive perspiration can also increase symptoms.
  • Obesity is not a cause Hidradenitis suppurativa but it can make it worse.
  • Excessive sweating may also be a cause of the disease.
  • Another reason is bacterial infection.
  • Sometimes the disease linked with other auto-immune conditions.
  • The disease can be caused by genetic disorders that generally alter cell structure.


The main effective treatments for hidradentis suppurativa are as:-

  • Wash with antiseptics such as hydrogen peroxide solution,medical grade honey to reduce skin carriage of commensal bacteria.
  • Always wear loose fitting clothing to avoid any friction.
  • Warm compresses, baths may soothe the condition.
  • Diet changes: Change in diet also helps to treat the disease because some food are more triggering.
  • Antibiotics :Oral antibiotics are generally prescribed to treat inflammation and bacterial infection.
  • Radiotherapy : Radiotherapy can also be an effective method for the treatment of Hidradenitis suppurativa .
  • Laser surgery :Usually remove the disease by surgery.
  • Intralesional corticosteroid injections can also be used to cure the disease.
  • Retinoids have been used with limited results.