Ricker Polsdorfer, MD
William Danby, MD
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is long term, recurring condition of the hair follicle. Inflamed nodes and cysts form in the armpits and groin. These may also be found under the breasts, and around the nipples, and anus. Other areas may be affected, but this isn’t common.
The hair follicle becomes blocked causing inflammation. This may lead to abscesses, infection, or scars. The sweat glands may also become inflamed.
A mix of factors lead to HS such as:
HS is more common in women than in men. Your chances of HS are also higher if you:
Most people with HS have problems after adolescence. But HS can happen at any age. HS may cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. Your answers and a physical exam may point to HS. In some cases, you may have blood tests or swabs of the fluid from your skin.
The goal of care is to control outbreaks. Care may involve:
Making changes may help you lower your chances of an outbreak:
Talk to your doctor about customized bandaging
Your doctor may advise:
Medicines may be as a pill, rubbed into the skin, or given as a shot.
If other methods don’t work, surgery may be an option. Methods of surgery:
Other procedure options include:
There is no way to prevent HS because the exact cause is unknown.
American Academy of Dermatology
Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation
Canadian Dermatology Association
Fardet L, Dupuy A, Kerob D, et al. Infliximab for severe hidradenitis suppurativa: transient clinical efficacy in seven consecutive patients.
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007;56:624-628.
Hidradenitis suppurativa. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115217/Hidradenitis-suppurativa. Updated August 9, 2016. Accessed June 19, 2018.
NORD—National Organization of Rare Diseases website. Available at:
Updated 2012. Accessed June 19, 2018.
Lam J, Krakowski AC, Friedlander SF. Hidradenitis suppurativa (acne inversa): management of a recalcitrant disease.
Pediatr Dermatol. 2007;24(5):465-473.
Shah N. Hidradenitis suppurativa: a treatment challenge.
Am Fam Physician. 2005;72(8):1547-1552.
11/30/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115217/Hidradenitis-suppurativa: Tzellos T, Zouboulis CC, Gulliver W, et al. Cardiovascular disease risk factors in patients with hidradenitis suppurativa: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Br J Dermatol 2015;173(5):1142-1155.
Last reviewed June 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcie L. Sidman, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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