Treating hidradenitis suppurativa: Explore your options

When choosing a treatment for your hidradenitis suppurativa, you have several options. Get the facts about how they work.

While there's no cure for your hidradenitis suppurativa, treatment is essential to managing this chronic condition characterized by painful lumps under the skin.

To help you choose the most effective treatment, your doctor will ask about your medical history and determine the stage or severity of your hidradenitis suppurativa. Stage I involves single or multiple abscesses without tunneling wounds. Stage II involves recurrent abscesses with tunneling wounds and scarring, and stage III is marked by multiple interconnected tunneling wounds and abscesses. Share with your doctor how long you've had hidradenitis suppurativa, any previous treatments you've had that weren't successful and your treatment preferences.

Lifestyle changes and topical treatments are typically the first step, followed by medications that treat your entire body (systemic treatment). In severe cases, you might need surgery. The more advanced your hidradenitis suppurativa, the more intensive treatment you might need. Consider these treatment options and how they might help.

Lifestyle changes

Quitting smoking, managing your stress, losing weight and eating a nutritious diet can help you manage your hidradenitis suppurativa. Wearing loosely fitting clothing can also reduce skin irritation.

To keep skin clean and prevent secondary infection, follow a regular skin care regimen. Gently wash your body with a nonsoap cleanser such as Cetaphil. Acne treatments might help. A five- to 10-minute soak in a diluted bleach bath also can help kill bacteria on your skin.

April 11, 2017