Considered a severe form of acne, hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic skin inflammation that usually occurs deep in the skin. The condition can appear in several parts of the body, including sweat glands, such as the groin or armpits. Hidradenitis suppurativa is characterized by a combination of blackheads and red lesions that break open and drain pus, which may cause itching or sweating. As the red bumps grow, they can become more painful.
Hidradenitis suppurativa occurs when oil glands and hair follicles become blocked with sweat gland fluid, dead skin cells, and other elements found in hair follicles. These substances become trapped and push out into the surrounding tissue. A break or cut of the skin then allows bacteria to enter the area and cause the inflammation.
While this condition is not often dangerous, it can be uncomfortable to live with. If you’re looking for relief from hidradenitis suppurativa, schedule a consultation at the Skin Care Center of Southern Illinois.
Common Hidradenitis Suppurativa Symptoms
Hidradenitis suppurativa symptoms most often occur in the groin, anus, armpits, inner thighs, and under the breasts. The rash can appear as red, pimple-like bumps or deep nodules and cysts, which may drain pus. Without medical intervention, symptoms can transition into deep, painful breakouts, thickening scars, tunneling acne, and infection. The chronic condition may worsen as a result of stress, heat, smoking cigarettes, gaining weight, and experiencing hormonal treatments.
There are certain hidradenitis suppurativa risk factors that give some people a higher chance of developing the condition. Women between the ages of 20 and 29 are more likely to develop the condition, as are people taking lithium and those who are overweight or obese. Having severe acne, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome can also increase your likelihood of developing the condition.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa Treatment
Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. For mild cases of hidradenitis suppurativa, home remedies can work. This includes using warm compresses and regular washing with antibacterial soap. In more difficult cases, a topical or oral antibiotic medication may be needed to treat the infection. Your dermatologist may also prescribe oral retinoids to stop oil glands from plugging up the hair follicle. You may also receive non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain and swelling, and possibly corticosteroids.
While some forms of this condition can respond well to at-home treatment, visiting a doctor to receive a confirmed diagnosis is an important first step. If you’re unsure if you’re experiencing hidradenitis suppurativa, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. Then, they can recommend a variety of hidradenitis suppurativa treatments that may work with your skin and lifestyle.
When to See a Doctor for Hidradenitis Suppurativa
While hidradenitis suppurativa is not typically dangerous on its own, some people with the condition may experience complications. This can include scarring and changes to the skin, but this can develop into lymph drainage problems, fistulas, and skin cancer. Whether you think you have this condition, visiting a dermatologist can provide essential insight. If you are interested in an evaluation by one of our board certified medical dermatologists, contact us to schedule an appointment.