Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that appears as a combination of blackheads, sores, small-reddened tender bumps or larger abscesses that may open and drain pus-like fluid.
It commonly affects apocrine sweat-bearing areas of the body such as in the armpit, groin or under the breasts. Scarring is common with hidradenitis suppurativa, and sinus tracts can develop under the skin in between abscesses, making treatment and healing difficult. Hidradenitis suppurativa is considered to be a severe form of acne.
Causes of Hidradenitis Suppurativa
It is unclear as to what actually causes hidradenitis suppurativa, but there seems to be disturbance around the openings of the hair follicles and sebaceous glands, which become blocked with dead skin cells and secretions of the sweat (apocrine) glands. Bacteria are then trapped and grow, causing infections in skin.
Various factors are thought to contribute to the development of hidradenitis suppurativa. Hidradenitis suppurativa seems to occur in families, so genetics are thought to play a role. Hormone or endocrine factors may stimulate it, and hidradenitis suppurativa occurs more often in cigarette smokers.
According to Dermnetnz.org, women are affected three times more often then men, and the most common age of occurrence is between puberty and the age of 40.
After a doctor examines you, he may order blood tests or send off any drainage from skin lesions to be cultured for bacteria.
Mild cases of hidradenitis suppurativa may be treated with warm compresses and antibacterial soap washings.
Moderate cases may additionally require the use of medications. Antibiotics, topical or oral, may be needed for ongoing treatment to prevent worsening of the condition or further outbreaks. Oral retinoids can help reduce plugging of hair follicles.
NSAIDs may help with pain and swelling. Corticosteroids may be used, which are stronger medications that reduce inflammation. Birth control pills or other hormone suppressing medications such as spironalactone may be tried.