Hidradenitis Suppurativa Learn More About What Causes Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes abscesses and scarring. It usually involves the armpits, groin and perineal (between the anus and genitalia) areas, but can appear in other regions with hair follicles such as under the breasts. Nearly one to four percent of people worldwide are affected by this disease, which is most common in women aged 20 to 40, but can also affect men and children.

The exact cause of hidradenitis suppurativa is unknown. It is not contagious, and it often runs in families. Experts believe several factors may contribute to it:

Hormones: In females, hormones may play a role since the disease tends to worsen during menstruation and pregnancy and improve after menopause. Some studies show a high level of male hormones in some women with the disease.

Genetics: Hidradenitis suppurativa seems to run in families. Researchers have identified specific genetic changes that seem to be inherited from affected parents.

Smoking: Smoking appears to be associated with hidradenitis suppurativa and may make it worse.

Friction/irritation: Irritation from friction between skin folds may contribute to cancer development.

Hidradenitis suppurativa (hi-drad-uh-NIE-tis sup-yoo-ruh-TIE-vuh), also known as acne inversa, is a long term skin disease characterized by the occurrence of inflamed and swollen lumps. These lumps most commonly occur in your armpits, in the groin, and under your breasts. The affected areas may also have blackheads or yellowish crusts. Some people may have only a single bump, while others may have many.

Although hidradenitis suppurativa can affect any area containing sweat glands, it most often affects areas where skin rubs against skin. These include:



Under breasts


Around your genitals

Inner thighs

Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a chronic, long-term skin condition that causes painful abscesses and scarring of areas where there are apocrine glands. Apocrine glands are located in the armpits and groin.

The areas affected by HS are armpits (axillae), under the breasts, inner thighs, buttocks and groin. The skin condition is sometimes misdiagnosed as boils or abscesses, or mistaken for acne. It can be painful, itchy and leave scarring.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa is not contagious and is not caused by poor hygiene. The exact cause of HS is unknown although it has been linked to being overweight or obese, smoking and having a family history of HS. It tends to affect women who have just started their menstrual periods as well as pregnant women.

I was born with a chronic skin disease, hidradenitis suppurativa, which my mother did not discover until I was eight years old. It is an incurable inflammatory disease of the sweat glands, which usually affects the armpits, groin and buttocks, but can occur anywhere on the body where there are hair follicles. During my childhood and adolescence it was extremely painful and debilitating. It would flare up suddenly; I fought off infections by dousing myself with antibacterial creams and in some cases antibiotics; I spent weeks at home from school because it was too painful to walk. My dermatologist gave me injections of hormones that were supposed to help by reducing the production of sweat, but they made me fat and bloated.

By age 16, I had learned to live with it. The pain had lessened slightly and I had learned to live as normal a life as possible, even though my skin still flared up all the time.

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a painful, long-term skin condition. It causes small bumps and abscesses to develop in the armpits, groin, and under the breasts. The bumps often leak pus or blood and leave behind scars.

The cause of hidradenitis suppurativa is unknown. Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) seems to be an inflammatory disease that is caused by an interaction between hormones, the immune system, and genetics.

Almost half of people with HS have a family member who also has it. Certain genes may make people more likely to develop this condition.

It is most common in people between puberty and age 40. Women are affected about twice as often as men.

Treatments can help relieve symptoms and reduce complications such as scarring and infection. However, there is no cure for hidradenitis suppurativa. There are several ways to treat it:

Medications — These include antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs

Surgery — This can drain abscesses and remove scar tissue

Light therapy — This treatment uses special lamps that emit ultraviolet light to improve the skin’s appearance

Self-care — Applying warm compresses or soaking in a warm bath can help relieve

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a skin condition that causes painful lumps to form under the skin. The lumps are typically located where there are large amounts of sweat glands, including the armpits, groin, buttocks and breasts. They can also appear in the skin folds between the thighs and buttocks.

These lumps often develop into abscesses that leak pus, which leads to scarring. The scarring may cause skin tissue to stick together. This can make it hard for some people to move their arms or legs.

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic (ongoing) condition that you’ll need to manage long term. However, there are effective treatments available to help ease your symptoms and prevent further flare-ups.

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), also referred to as acne inversa, is a relatively uncommon skin condition in which small, painful lumps form under the skin. HS usually develops as one or more inflamed, pea-sized nodules that are accompanied by redness of the overlying skin. These nodules may progress to form abscesses or blackheads.

The condition most often develops in areas where the skin rubs together, such as the armpits or groin. The nodules can grow and join together to form larger lumps resembling boils. This can lead to scarring and sinus tract formation, which are narrow channels that connect two areas beneath the skin’s surface.

HS is a chronic inflammatory disease, which means it is long lasting and tends to flare up at times before subsiding. It can also be progressive in that it worsens over time.


The exact cause of HS is unknown. However, experts believe that HS occurs when hair follicles become blocked with oil and dead skin cells, leading to inflammation and infections (abscesses). The following factors may be involved:

Genetics: HS often runs in families. In fact, it appears that people inherit a tendency to develop the

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