What Is Hidradenitis?
Hidradenitis, or hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), is a rare and chronic inflammatory skin disease. It may block sweat glands around hair follicles or in skin folds, such as armpits, thighs and breasts. It sometimes starts as a bump or pimple that becomes a painful abscess (swollen, pus-filled area) that ruptures.
The cause of hidradenitis is unknown. It is more common in women and African Americans, and usually starts after the teen years. It is rare to get HS after age 55.
HS is not caused by poor hygiene. It can become severe, but it is not contagious or life-threatening. Contributing causes may include:
- Immune system disorders
- Genetic or environmental factors
- A history of acne
Hidradenitis symptoms range from mild bumps to debilitating skin injury. Symptoms include:
- Blackheads – Blocked follicles in deep, pitted areas
- Red, swollen bumps – May grow, break open and leak pus
- Tunnels – Form under the skin between abscesses, can leak pus and are slow to heal
- Scarring – In and around injured skin
Hidradenitis treatment depends on the severity of your condition and focuses on managing symptoms. It may help to lose weight or wear looser clothing to ease skin irritation. Treatments may include:
- Antibiotics – Topical (on skin) or oral (by mouth) medicine to prevent or treat infection
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines – To ease swelling and pain
- Surgery – To remove sores and scar tissue
Ready for an Appointment?
If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of hidradenitis, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.
Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat hidradenitis.