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What Is Hidradenitis Suppurativa, and How Is It Treated?

What Is Hidradenitis Suppurativa, and How Is It Treated?

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is an often-challenging skin condition that causes the formation of bumps that look similar to pimples. The nodules are often inflamed and painful and tend to erupt and leak fluid. 

If you’re diagnosed with HS, you need a skin expert who has experience managing this rare and challenging condition. 

Dr. Yvonne Hines at Hines Dermatology Associates is backed by decades of dermatology experience treating rare and difficult skin conditions. Dr. Hines can confirm your diagnosis and discuss a treatment plan to improve your skin. 

What is hidradenitis suppurativa?

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), often known as acne inversa, is a persistent, infectious, inflammatory disorder characterized by tunnels or tracts on and beneath the skin, as well as pimple-like lumps or boils.

Hard pimples under the skin or pus-filled bumps on the skin can develop into painful, inflammatory lesions with persistent discharge.

Although the exact cause of the condition is unknown, a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors probably contributes to its development. We do know that the problem starts in the skin’s hair follicles.

HS can greatly impact your quality of life. Working with a dermatologist who has experience with HS is key to successfully managing it.

Who is at risk of developing HS?

Compared with males, women are more likely to develop hidradenitis suppurativa, and this may be due to hormonal differences in women and men. HS tends to first strike around puberty. If you have a family member with HS, you’re more likely to develop it yourself.

Obesity and smoking both appear to raise the risk of developing HS. What’s more, people who are overweight typically experience more severe symptoms. 

Signs and symptoms of HS

To the untrained eye, HS looks like a typical boil or large pimple. There are hard bumps beneath the skin or pus-filled bumps. These can develop into painful lesions. 

In severe situations, the lesions may spread and be joined by tracts, which are tiny structures that resemble tunnels under the skin. Sometimes HS leaves unhealed wounds that are left open. 

HS tends to develop in areas of friction, where areas of skin may touch or rub against one another. 

Additionally, lesions can develop under the breasts, on the buttocks or upper thighs, or around the anus. They could form in the area around the navel, the areola of the breast, the scalp, and other, less common sites of lesions, including the nape of the neck.

Some individuals with relatively moderate disease may have only one area affected, while others may have more severe disease with lesions in numerous locations. 

Skin issues caused by HS are frequently symmetrical, which means that if one portion of the body is damaged, the corresponding area on the other side will also be impacted. 

Treating HS

Early diagnosis and treatment are key to preventing HS from worsening. Amid several approaches to treating HS, Dr. Hines bases her recommendation on the severity of the condition.

For mild HS, initial treatment options include:

For moderate HS:

Another option for treating moderate HS is a tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitor, Humira®. This is the first biologic agent approved to treat moderate to severe hidradenitis suppurativa.

Additionally, treatment may involve draining abscesses or excusing lesions.

To have your skin evaluated, call our helpful and knowledgeable team at 508-222-1976 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hines at our Attleboro, Massachusetts, office. 

New and existing patients are also invited to send a message to Dr. Hines and the team conveniently from our website. 

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