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Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)

Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)

Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic skin condition characterized by the formation of painful, inflamed lesions in areas where skin rubs together, such as the armpits, groin, buttocks, and under the breasts. The condition usually begins after puberty and persists over time, with periods of flare-ups and remission.

Key features of hidradenitis suppurativa include:

Painful nodules and abscesses: These are often pea-sized or larger and can be very painful. They may rupture, leading to the formation of tunnels under the skin.

Tunnels (sinus tracts): Over time, the nodules may connect and form tunnels under the skin. These can sometimes leak pus and have a foul odor.

Scarring: Chronic inflammation can lead to the formation of scars, which can be extensive in severe cases. This scarring can affect the normal function of the skin and may cause contractures, limiting movement in affected areas.

Recurrent flare-ups: The condition is characterized by periods of exacerbation and improvement. Factors that can trigger flare-ups include obesity, hormonal changes, heat, and friction.

The exact cause of hidradenitis suppurativa is not well understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors. It is not caused by poor hygiene.

Management of hidradenitis suppurativa may include:

Lifestyle modifications: Weight loss, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and avoiding activities that cause friction or sweating can help manage symptoms.

Topical and systemic medications: Antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and other drugs may be prescribed to manage inflammation and prevent infections.

Intralesional injections: Corticosteroid injections into individual lesions may help reduce inflammation.

Surgical interventions: In severe cases, surgical procedures may be considered. This can include draining abscesses, removing scar tissue, or in some cases, removing affected skin.

Biologics: For more severe cases, biologic medications that target specific components of the immune system may be considered.

It’s essential for individuals with hidradenitis suppurativa to work closely with healthcare professionals, often involving dermatologists or surgeons, to develop a personalized treatment plan. Managing the condition may require a combination of approaches, and the goal is often to reduce symptoms, prevent complications, and improve quality of life.