There are many different conditions associated with the formation of acne. Some of these diseases can be difficult to deal with because of the inflammation that occurs. When you have acne, many skin inflammations can occur and one of these skin conditions is known as hidradenitis suppurativa.
Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic inflammation of the skin that is caused by a severe form of acne. Hidradenitis suppurativa is considered a severe form of acne because it occurs deep into the skin around the sebaceous gland and hair follicle. Usually the areas most affected are the groin and the armpit because this is where the main sweat glands are located. This condition will start after someone hits puberty and can be persistent or worsen over a period of time. If you know the common symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa, then you can better manage the condition.
There are many symptoms associated with hidradenitis suppurativa and they are usually the first indication of skin inflammation. Hidradenitis suppurativa will occur around the oil and sweat glands such as the armpit or groin area and can occur anywhere that skin rubs together. Some other common places this condition could occur are the thighs, under the breast and the buttocks. The skin condition can either occur in one place or it can affect many places at the same time. If you have this condition you will probably notice that there are several patches of skin that contain blackheads. The blackheads appear in pairs or like a pattern of a double-barrel. Pea-sized lumps will grow under the skin and they can be very painful if they grow or become inflamed. There will often be painful bumps that persistently leak fluid which might not seem to heal. The bumps will look like an open sore and they can lead to scarring of the skin. After puberty is when the condition will start and often starts out with just one painful lump. The lump might progress for months or stay constant without going away. Weight, stress, hormone changes, perspiration and heat can all make the symptoms worse. If you appear to show the symptoms of this condition, then you need to know what causes it so you can get treatment.
Since hidradenitis suppurativa occurs deep within the skin, it is not surprising that a blockage is the main cause for the condition. The sweat glands release fluids, dead skin cells and other materials into the hair follicles, which sometimes can become blocked. The blockage occurs from the release of materials into the hair follicles and then the skin materials begin pushing into surrounding area. Once the materials begin going near other skin tissue you could have pain, inflammation and infection develop. It is unclear why the blockage occurs in some people but a lot of variables could be the reason. Smoking, hormones, genetics and being overweight might be some of the variables that cause hidradenitis suppurativa to develop. You might also be more at risk for developing hidradenitis suppurativa if you have other conditions such as herpes simplex, Crohn’s disease or Grave’s disease. Women are also more likely to have hidradenitis suppurativa although it is not known why it occurs more in women. People between puberty and 40-years of age are also more at risk for developing the condition. Hidradenitis suppurativa is not usually found in children and is rare in people over age 40. If you have a family history of hidradenitis suppurativa then you are also at an increased risk for developing the condition.
Having hidradenitis suppurativa can also lead to many complications and most of them are physical changes. Scars and changes in the skin are common complications in people with hidradenitis suppurativa. If the condition is severe then you will likely see thick scars which appear raised. The skin will have patches of darker skin color which is called hyperpigmentation and it might not go away. Sinus tracts might connect and form a tunnel under the skin. The development of the tracks or tunnels can prevent the proper healing of open wounds. The tunnels under the skin could also cause more sores to develop over time. The skin condition might also cause a change in your ability to move properly, which might restrict your daily activities. Hidradenitis suppurativa might cause pain when the affected areas are moved which could limit mobility. The armpits and inner thighs are most likely to see restricted movement due to the pain. Cellulitis might also occur because of the risk of a serious bacterial infection. The bacterial infection will feel hot and is often characterized by swollen skin that is red in color. The infection can spread quickly from a superficial source to your lymph nodes or bloodstream. It is important that you get to a doctor immediately to confirm a diagnosis of hidradenitis suppurativa before the infection spreads.
In order to make a diagnosis of hidradenitis suppurativa the doctor will usually run various diagnostic tests. The doctor will ask you about your symptoms as well as your medical history and family history. A physical examination will also be performed to examine the skin and the inflammation surrounding the sores. If there is pus present then the doctor might take a sample of the fluid to be tested to rule out other conditions. There are many different skin conditions that might cause inflammation and pus to develop, so it is important to rule out other skin conditions before confirming the diagnosis. Once you have a confirmed diagnosis then you can move onto finding appropriate treatment for hidradenitis suppurativa.
There is no cure for hidradenitis suppurativa so the focus of treatment is to suppress and control the symptoms occurring on the skin. Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the areas affected and whether any infection develops in the sores. Self-care is the standard treatment for mild cases of hidradenitis suppurativa and it includes using a warm compress and washing with antibacterial soap. A moderate case of hidradenitis suppurativa might include using topical and oral medication. Antibiotics might be used to treat the infection and might prevent the condition from getting worse. Oral retinoid medications might be used to stop the oil gland function and to prevent the hair follicle from becoming blocked. Nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory medications could be prescribed to help the inflammation and swelling in the skin. If the hidradenitis suppurativa is severe, then surgery might be needed to remove deep lesions. Reoccurring skin infections, obesity and incomplete removal of the affected area will increase the chances that it will reappear. Surgical removal is an option for removing scar tissue and damaged skin but it will not cure or completely treat the condition.
There are some measures you can take at home to help prevent the skin infection from spreading further. You can apply a warm cloth or compress on the affected area to reduce swelling and skin irritation. Washing the affected area with an antibacterial soap and applying over-the-counter antibiotics will also help. Wearing loose clothing and underwear can help prevent the skin irritation associated with hidradenitis suppurativa, especially around the armpits and groin. Do not shave the areas where the skin irritation has occurred to help prevent worsening of the irritation. Someone with hidradenitis suppurativa should not smoke, although there is no direct correlation between the condition and effects of smoking. Quitting Smoking can have many health benefits and might help the lesions heal quicker. It would also be a good idea to eat a better diet and lose weight if you have hidradenitis suppurativa. If you have this condition then you need to take precautionary measures at home to help prevent progression of the condition. Although this condition is not curable, early diagnosis is important for successful treatment of the symptoms.
Mayo Clinic Staff, ” Hidradenitis Suppurativa”, Mayo Clinic