Hidradenitis Suppurativa – Common Symptoms and Treatment



Hidradenitis, also known as nodular acne and Verneuil’s disease, is a purulent inflammation of the apocrine sweat glands. It is observed in 1 in 100 people. It causes discomfort due to the formation of bumps, which are often very painful. They can be located in different places and even affect large areas of the body at once.

Where does hidradenitis suppurativa occur and what are the symptoms?

This skin disease occurs more often in women, overweight people, smokers, acne sufferers, people between the ages of puberty and 40, and those with a family history of the disease.

Hidradenitis suppurativa most often occurs around the anus and near the nipples, on the scalp, in the area near the navel; in women – on the labia and in men – on the scrotum.

The condition is characterized by several common symptoms:

  • red bumps or even sores around the anus, groin and armpits, under the breasts in women;
  • oozing pus;
  • intense itching and unpleasant odor.

The disease does not develop quickly, but rather begins with painful redness of the skin caused by an inflamed gland. After a few days, the redness becomes pea-sized and more painful; after another 5-7 days it increases in size to 1-3 cm and becomes pear-shaped.

Hidradenitis develops more often in areas with more sweat glands and thinner skin, namely, the groin and armpits. A specific microflora that is favorable for certain bacteria develops in these areas. Scratching, chafing, applying various deodorants, etc. contribute to the blockage of the ducts of the sweat glands with dust, dirt, sebum, etc.

When dirt accumulates because it cannot be disposed of, a hard swollen lump forms. It contains pus and is extremely painful. The development of the disease at this stage is too dangerous and you should see a doctor to avoid a purulent process such as phlegmon or even squamous cell carcinoma.

What is the treatment for hidradenitis suppurativa?

There is no defined treatment for hidradenitis suppurativa, but dermatologists resort to various methods before surgery.

The treatment may include:

  • Application of oral or topical antibiotics;
  • Injecting the lesions to relieve swelling and pain;
  • Use of anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • Surgery to remove scarred skin or drain small areas;
  • Consultation with a psychologist or stress therapy if necessary.

To protect yourself from hidradenitis suppurativa, you can use warm compresses and baths, as well as antibacterial and antiseptic soaps. Avoid heat and moisture, as well as tight synthetic clothing. If you notice inflammation, do not use deodorant on the affected area and do not shave it. Do your best to lose weight if you are overweight. You can try meditation or exercises to relieve stress.

Take extra care to monitor your skin and microclimate if you have had a similar problem before or if it has occurred in your family.

Although it is not possible to fully protect oneself against the development of the disease under adverse circumstances, you can significantly reduce the risk of developing hidradenitis suppurativa by maintaining hygiene and wearing loose-fitting clothes.

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