Reducing the discomfort of hidradenitis suppurativa: Self-care tips
Hidradenitis suppurativa involves lumps and lesions in parts of the body that frequently experience friction, such as the armpits and the groin. This can be painful. To ease your discomfort and limit the extent and frequency of symptoms, consider these tips:
Clothing can contribute to friction and irritation. To reduce these:
- Wear loose clothing. Loose clothing and underwear can help prevent friction, chafing and excess sweating that can worsen symptoms.
- Avoid detergents with dyes and fragrances. Using dye- and fragrance-free detergents limits skin irritation.
Excess moisture, use of certain soaps and shaving can cause irritation. To care for your skin:
- Keep skin dry. During menstrual periods, use tampons instead of sanitary pads to prevent excess moisture in the groin area. Use an antiperspirant daily to help prevent underarm wetness.
- Use a gentle cleanser. Consider a nonsoap cleanser for washing your body. If odor is a concern, use a cleanser with an antibacterial agent.
- Don't scrub. Avoid using a washcloth or a brush on affected areas, as this can irritate skin.
- Avoid shaving affected areas. Shaving can irritate skin and introduce bacteria to existing wounds. Talk to your doctor about alternative hair removal options.
To relieve pain caused by lumps:
- Use cool compresses or wraps. Cooling the affected areas may ease pain.
- Consider pain relievers. Ask your doctor to recommend the most appropriate pain reliever.
Lifestyle changes might lessen your symptoms. Consider:
- Quitting smoking. If you smoke, map out a quit-smoking action plan. Smoking can worsen the symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa.
- Losing weight. Losing weight might help decrease the friction in between your skin folds.
By following these strategies, you might be able to reduce the discomfort caused by hidradenitis suppurativa.
Jan. 03, 2019
From Mayo Clinic to your inbox
Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.
ErrorEmail field is required
ErrorInclude a valid email address
To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which
information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with
other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could
include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected
health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health
information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of
privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on
the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.
Thank you for subscribing
Our Housecall e-newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the latest health information.
Sorry something went wrong with your subscription
Please, try again in a couple of minutes
See more In-depth
- Hidradenitis suppurativa: Tips for managing. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/painful-skin-joints/hidradenitis-suppurativa. Accessed Jan. 8, 2016.
- Margesson LJ, et al. Hidradenitis suppurativa. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2014;28:1013.
- Margesson LJ, et al. Treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa (acne inversa). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 7, 2016.
- Ring HC, et al. Self-reported pain management in hidradenitis suppurativa. British Journal of Dermatology. 2016;174:909.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 26, 2018.