Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that usually starts with bumps that look like pimples. These bumps can grow and turn into painful lumps that break open, bleed or seep pus.
Without treatment, HS can cause serious skin complications and interfere with your quality of life.
Here at Hines Dermatology, Dr. Yvonne Hines leads a team of top-quality, compassionate dermatology specialists who are dedicated to keeping your skin as healthy as possible. Dr. Hines specializes in treating rare and difficult-to-treat skin conditions, including HS.
If you have unexplained, painful bumps on your skin, scheduling a visit with a dermatology specialist is a wise first step.
Living with hidradenitis suppurativa
Anyone with HS should have a dermatologist on their health care team. HS is a long-term condition that involves the hair follicles and sweat glands.
People with HS develop painful boil-like and cyst-like bumps, usually around the breasts, armpits, buttocks, inner thighs, and groin. The bumps often break and then heal, leaving scars.
Dr. Hines has specialized training to diagnose and manage HS to reduce symptoms and minimize the impact on patients’ daily lives.
Who gets hidradenitis suppurativa?
For reasons currently unknown, HS affects more females than males. Many people with HS first notice signs during their adolescent years, beginning at puberty. However, HS can occur for the first time in adults, usually up to age 40. HS is also more common in African Americans, and people who are overweight or smokers.
What causes hidradenitis suppurativa?
HS occurs when hair follicles or sweat glands become clogged, causing inflammation and an overgrowth of cells. While the exact cause remains unknown, hormones appear to play a role in the abnormal cellular overgrowth. The fact that HS is rarely seen before puberty seems to support the role of hormones in its development.
Once follicles of sweat glands become blocked, cells can grow and rupture, leading to inflammation and scarring. It’s important to know that HS is not contagious, and it’s not caused by poor hygiene.
Because HS often runs in families, researchers are investigating a possible genetic component. People with HS tend to have other hormone-related or inflammatory conditions, such as
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Signs and symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa
Mild itching and discomfort in the affected area are early warning signs of HS. This may occur before the appearance of bumps on the skin. The area may appear red or swollen and may feel tender to the touch. If you have these symptoms, don’t put off seeing a dermatologist for a thorough evaluation.
After some time, bumps that look like pimples or boils begin to develop. The inflammation often causes pain and discomfort as the affected areas of skin rub against your clothing or against your own skin. Pus may begin to seep from the bumps as they break open, releasing bacteria.
The bumps may recur in the same area, and the frequency and severity vary from person to person. Some people have persistent breakouts of HS, while others may go months between breakouts. Without treatment, you’re more likely to develop deep scars and complications such as infection.
For more information on how our expert team of dermatology specialists can help you best manage HS, or for a comprehensive evaluation if you have symptoms of HS or any other skin condition, contact our Attleboro, Massachusetts, office at 508-222-1976 or book online to schedule an appointment. Another option is to send a message to Dr. Hines and the team here on our website.