What is hidradenitis suppurativa?

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic condition characterized by painful lumps under the skin. These pea-sized to marble-sized lumps often grow in places where skin rubs together, such as in the armpits, the groin or between the buttocks. The condition is also known as acne inversa, but it's more painful and disruptive to daily life than common acne. Lumps caused by hidradenitis suppurativa rupture from time to time, leaving behind wounds that drain foul-smelling pus and cause disfiguring scars.

Hidradenitis suppurativa is more common in women. It's also more likely if you smoke, have certain diseases of the bowel or have metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that occur together, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Hidradenitis suppurativa typically shows up for the first time during late adolescence and worsens over time, but it takes an average of seven years before it's correctly diagnosed and treated. However, treating hidradenitis suppurativa early can help manage symptoms and prevent new wounds from developing.

Dec. 29, 2018 See more Expert Answers

See also

  1. Acne
  2. Acne mistakes
  3. Acne scars: What's the best treatment?
  4. Acne treatments: Medical procedures may help clear skin
  5. Antidepressant withdrawal: Is there such a thing?
  6. Antidepressants and alcohol: What's the concern?
  7. Antidepressants and weight gain: What causes it?
  8. Antidepressants: Can they stop working?
  9. Antidepressants: Side effects
  10. Antidepressants: Selecting one that's right for you
  11. Antidepressants: Which cause the fewest sexual side effects?
  12. Atypical antidepressants
  13. Birth control pills for acne?
  14. Can zinc supplements help treat hidradenitis suppurativa?
  15. Hidradenitis suppurativa wound care
  16. Clinical depression: What does that mean?
  17. Clinical trials for hidradenitis suppurativa
  18. Coping with the stress of hidradenitis suppurativa
  19. Creating a hidradenitis suppurativa care team
  20. Depression and anxiety: Can I have both?
  21. Depression, anxiety and exercise
  22. Depression: Diagnosis is key
  23. Depression in women: Understanding the gender gap
  24. Depression (major depressive disorder)
  25. Depression: Provide support, encouragement
  26. Depression: Supporting a family member or friend
  27. Don't blame pizza, fries or dirt for acne
  28. Excessive sweating
  29. Hidradenitis suppurativa
  30. Hidradenitis suppurativa and biologics: Get the facts
  31. Hidradenitis suppurativa and diet: What's recommended?
  32. Hidradenitis suppurativa and sleep: How to get more zzz's
  33. Hidradenitis suppurativa: Tips for weight-loss success
  34. Hidradenitis suppurativa: When does it appear?
  35. Hidradenitis suppurativa: Where can I find support?
  36. Living better with hidradenitis suppurativa
  37. Male depression: Understanding the issues
  38. Managing hidradenitis suppurativa: Early treatment is crucial
  39. Hidradenitis suppurativa-related health risks
  40. MAOIs and diet: Is it necessary to restrict tyramine?
  41. Marijuana and depression
  42. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  43. Natural acne treatment: What's most effective?
  44. Natural remedies for depression: Are they effective?
  45. Nervous breakdown: What does it mean?
  46. Over-the-counter acne products: What works and why
  47. Pain and depression: Is there a link?
  48. Reducing the discomfort of hidradenitis suppurativa: Self-care tips
  49. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  50. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  51. Staying active with hidradenitis suppurativa
  52. Surgery for hidradenitis suppurativa
  53. Take action against acne
  54. Treat acne-prone skin with care
  55. Treating hidradenitis suppurativa: Explore your options
  56. Treating hidradenitis suppurativa with antibiotics and hormones
  57. Treatment-resistant depression
  58. Tricyclic antidepressants and tetracyclic antidepressants
  59. Vitamin B-12 and depression
  60. What are the signs and symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa?