Severe cases may need surgery to open tunneled tracts and drain pocketed areas full of pus discharge. Surgical removal of involved skin areas may require more extensive repair afterwards, with use of a skin flap to cover the opened area, or a skin graft from another part of the body.
Unfortunately, surgery does not prevent a recurrence of hidradenitis suppurativa.
Though hidradenitis suppurativa cannot be prevented, various life style changes may reduce discomfort and help in healing.
- Use warm compresses when you feel inflammation is starting in an area.
- Wash affected areas with antibacterial soaps and apply topical antibiotics such as Neosporin if your doctor recommends it.
- Wear loose clothing so the skin is able to have better air circulation.
- Avoid shaving, which can irritate the skin.
-Stop smoking and try and lose weight if needed, so that skin surfaces do not rub against one another, trapping sweat.
According to Mayoclinic.com, “zinc gluconate supplements (zinc salts) taken daily may help reduce inflammation and prevent new outbreaks”.
Hidradenitis suppurativa can be an especially distressing condition. People feel embarrassed or anxious due to foul odor of the draining lesions and so do not seek medical care. It is important for these people to reach out for help, despite feeling self-conscious.
Support for those who suffer from hidradenitis suppurativa here in the United States can be found at the Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation, Inc. http://www.hs-foundation.org/
They have a section to help find a doctor and have information about current research and treatments. HS-USA, at http://www.hs-usa.org/index.htm is also working on developing an online forum, and they have a 24 hr support line.
Other support groups from other countries are listed at the end of the #2 source below.
1. Hidradenitis suppurativa. Mayoclinc.com. Web. April 14, 2012.
2. Hidradenitis suppurativa. DermNet NZ. Web. April 14, 2012.