Hidradenitis suppurativa treatment

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic inflammation that occurs on the skin, especially around areas where sweat glands (or apocrine) are located, for example armpits, buttocks, groin, or under the female breast. Hidradenitis suppurativa does not occur before puberty, and is more common in women. Although the causes of hidradenitis suppurativa is subject to argument, some believe that it can be the result of blockage in the apocrine glands. Smoking and obesity are thought to be contributing factors to the development of hidradenitis suppurativa.

Hidradenitis suppurativa looks similar to acne but is much more repulsive and painful. And it is difficult to treat as well. The disease gets worse once it begins, and does not heal by itself, completely. Therefore it is necessary to begin treatment before the inflammation develops.

The treatment for hidradenitis suppurativa depends on the degree to which the disease has affected the area, and on how painful the sores are. Infections over small areas can be treated by self-care, including the use of antibacterial soaps for washing, or the application of warm compresses with Burow, or sodium chloride solution. Non-steroidal drugs that have anti-inflammatory properties may also be taken as a treatment to cure mild hidradenitis suppurativa. Oral antibiotics may also help to alleviate inflammation in case of mild conditions, but they cannot cure the disease. Topical steroid creams can also be applied to the affected area. Steroid injections can also be helpful in moderate cases as it can reduce the inflammation. However, steroid injections are more effective when combined with other types of treatment.

Radiotherapy has also been experimented with, and is found to be helpful in certain cases. Sometimes laser ablation may also be useful.

When hidradenitis suppurativa becomes severe, i.e., it is spread over large areas and is throbbing with sores, it is best to go through a surgery. There are a number of surgical techniques that can be used to treat the condition. These include exteriorization, drainage, curettage, electrocoagulation of the sinus tracts, and simple excision of the problem areas with direct closure.

The most common surgical methods of all are local incision and drainage and surgical excision. Local incision and drainage of purulent lesions is helpful for moderate conditions and may provide temporary relief, but the infection generally persists and occurs again if the condition is more acute.

Surgical excision is the most effective treatment for hidradenitis suppurativa in most cases. In this case, the affected area, and surrounding areas that are prone to further infection is removed completely to reduce reappearances. Surgical excision using second-intention healing and carbon dioxide laser are much more effective and are known to provide satisfactory results. Moreover, if the carbon dioxide laser is assisted by a scanner, the excision is more precise, and allows for early cure.

When surgical excision is conducted, the treatment area is left open in most cases in order to let it heal from within. However, reconstructions on skin can be done, but that depends on the size and area of the excision. Skin grafting can be carried out to hasten the healing process, but is unsuitable in many situations. Surgical excision generally eliminates the recurrences of the condition, but in some cases, if the excision is not conducted over the entire affected area and on surrounding tissues, or if the affected area is too wide, the condition is likely to reappear.

Healing after surgical excision may take four to six weeks, when completed with carbon dioxide laser. During that time, it is important to take good care of the treated area, and to not touch the area unnecessarily until it has been healed.

Hidradenitis suppurativa is likely to spread if it is not taken care of at the initial stage. To prevent hidradenitis suppurativa from worsening, it is important to maintain a hygienic lifestyle at all times. Wearing loose fitting clothes and keeping sweaty parts of the body well aerated will help prevent such conditions. It is important for obese people to lose weight in order to avoid getting hidradenitis suppurativa.

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a distressing disease, and it may affect patients to a psychological level. A number of affected people are reluctant to go to a dermatologist because of the repulsive nature of the condition. But it is extremely crucial to take action immediately after the first occurances of the disease. Therefore, if there is any abnormal sighting of acne or boils under the armpits, at the groin, or in other sweaty areas, it is best to seek medical help almost immediately.

Last updated on Jul 25th, 2010 and filed under Skin Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

5 Responses for “Hidradenitis suppurativa treatment”

  1. Shelly says:

    I came upon your site, because I was searching for help. I have had Hidradenitis Suppurativa for 18 years. I have tried many treatments and none have put me into remission. I was confused by some things as I read your site about HS. First of all this disease is not caused by being obese. It is made worse by being obese. This is a quote from your site ” It is important for obese people to lose weight in order to avoid getting hidradenitis suppurativa.” This makes it sound as if HS is a disease of only the obese. When in fact it is not. Thin people can have HS also.

    The use of the word repulsive, is in my opinion very inappropriate. People who have to deal with the pain and stress of this disease shouldn’t be caused to feel disgusting (definition of repulsive is disgusting).
    It seems to me that bad hygiene is also blamed here for the worsening of the disease. That is not the case. Someone not familiar with this disease would get the idea that they are dirty if their disease progresses. Looking for help, should not cause you to feel worse than when you started searching.

  2. Nikitia says:

    Shelly I agree with your comment 100 %. My daughter has this disorder and I am in search of answers (can not get anything concrete from her derm). Not just for me, but her. I wanted to educate her on HS and encourage her to open up more to me and her doctors before the HS gets to an severe episode. When I read the word “repulsive” I became angry and knew at that point this was not a medical professional writing this harsh report. It is apparently someone who does not have to deal with it on a daily basis. Shame on the author for choosing such an inappropriate word. Living with HS hurts, getting help for HS should not!!!

  3. Marla says:

    My thin, gorgeous, non-smoking friend suffers from H.S. I was going to send her this article until I saw the word “repulsive.” It’s a shame you ruined a decent article with a subjective and derogatory adjective like this.

  4. Elle says:

    I have to say that I fully agree with the other comments left before mine.
    The author of this article is horribly uninformed!

    Hidradenitis Suppurativa is NOT caused by bad hygiene, obesity or smoking- if it were, a good portion of the population would have this disease. Using the word “repulsive” to describe it is just plain WRONG. Those of us who have the disease are in pain and grossed out by our battle wounds enough, we don’t need anyone telling us that it’s “repulsive”, as you so wonderfully (sarcasm) put.

    Research your facts before posting fallacies. I don’t even want to know how many poor souls have come across this article while looking for help and have left feeling worse than when they got here. Shame on you, author!

    To those who have HS: it is NOT your fault! There’s many of us out there who know how you feel. Stay strong!

  5. Melody says:

    I agree with all of the above, It is clear that whoever wrote this article is obviously not a sufferer of HS and actually has no idea what we go through, the choice of wording leaves a lot to be desired.

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