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
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.