Hidradenitis suppurativa, pronounced hi-drah-duh-NI-tiss sup-uh-rah-TI-vah) is a chronic inflammation of the skin. In this condition, the sufferer may have numerous blackheads accompanied by one or more lesions, or tender, red bumps. There is a tendency for the lesions to grow large, after which it will pop and drain. The drainage will contain pus. After a number of recurrences, scarring will occur.
This condition is considered a very harsh form of acne inverse. Hidradenitis suppurativa does its thing deep inside the skin at the base of oil glands and hair follicles. The condition tends to affect the areas where there are many sweat glands, such as in the armpits and groin.
Hidradenitis suppurativa often begins with puberty, but will persist for a number of years, worsening over time. An early diagnosis of the condition may make a big difference in the quality of life for the sufferer, since the earlier it is diagnosed, the sooner it is possible to receive treatment that can help to manage the symptoms and stop the formation of new lesions.
In addition to the groin and armpits, the condition may be symptomatic around the anus and in areas where the skin rubs against itself, such as beneath the breasts, between the buttocks, and on the inner thighs. There may be lesions in only one area, or multiple parts of the body may be affected.
The symptoms of hidradenitis suppurative include:
*Small areas of the skin will look pitted and contain many blackheads. The blackheads will appear in pairs or clusters.
*At least one tender, red bump or lesion that is filled with pus. The bumps will grow larger until they come to a head, pop, and drain. The drainage will have a foul odor. The lesions may be accompanied by burning, itching, and heavy sweating.
*Lumps the size of peas may grow under the skin. These lumps will be quite hard and painful. The lumps may remain for years though they may grow larger and become subject to inflammation.
*Leaking bumps or sores that hurt. These open lesions may leak without cessation. If they heal, the process is very slow. But they often do not heal but lead instead to scarring and tunneling of the skin.
The condition may begin with just one bump that hurts, but lasts for weeks or months at a time. In some people, the disease is progressive and may affect several areas of the body. In other people, the symptoms are very mild. Risk factors include obesity, hormonal changes, stress, and heavy sweating, all of which can worsen existing symptoms in sufferers.
If you have a mild case of hidradenitis suppurativa, you may be able to take care of it with home remedies and good hygiene. But if the disease persists for 2 weeks and pops up in more than one location, see your doctor or your dermatologist. In most cases, it is necessary to treat the condition with prescription medicines or even surgery as a means of managing the situation.