Hidradenitis Suppurativa Treatments

Hidradenitis suppurativa usually begins as pimple-like bumps on the skin. The pimple-like bumps tend to develop in places that everyday pimples do not appear. It generally forms near sweat glands where skin touches or rubs skin and is exposed to little or no sunlight, such as under the arms and breasts, between the buttocks, and around the groin and thighs.

Hidradenitis suppurative can cause embarrassment if breakouts itch or become infected and then rupture, leaking foul-smelling fluid. Sufferers should not be embarrassed to seek help from a dermatologist. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent worsening of symptoms.

Causes: The exact cause is unknown, though hidradenitis suppurativa seldom occurs before puberty or after menopause, so hormones are a suspected factor. Overweight people, smokers, people with acne, those who take lithium, and women are more susceptible. Like acne, hidradenitis suppurativa begins when hair follicles clog with bacteria or other substances, but unlike acne, the immune system is thought to overreact to the blockage. Hidradenitis suppurativa is not hereditary, contagious or caused by poor hygiene.

Symptoms: Initially hidradenitis suppurativa can resemble acne-like blackheads, pimples around individual hair follicles, or boils. In later stages breakouts may reoccur and become painful or rupture and leak a smelly fluid, and scars may form and become thicker over time and cause tunnel-like tracts creating spongy-looking skin between outbreak areas. Serious infection may also occur.

Basic Formula for recovery/healing/improvement: A dermatologist can discern the subtle differences between hidradenitis suppurativa and other conditions with similar symptoms. A biopsy may be done to rule out other types of infection. Oral or topical antibiotics, oral retinoids, and hormone therapy may be prescribed. More severe cases may require intravenous medications to suppress immune system response or surgery to relieve pain from individual nodules or bumps and pockets that recur. Laser surgery may be used on deep new bumps and skin grafts may be used on more established cases. Hidradenitis suppurativa can last for years, though earlier and long-term treatment can help control the pain, promote healing, and reduce flare-ups and complications.

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*Results may vary per patient. Services vary by location.