If you think you may have hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) but haven’t been diagnosed, it might be time for you to make an appointment with a dermatologist.
Why a dermatologist?
HS is a skin disease that is not well known, so not all doctors may be familiar with it. Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating inflammatory skin conditions like HS. So, they’re likely to have more experience treating patients with HS than another medical doctor.
Need help finding a dermatologist?
If you don’t have a dermatologist, you may need a referral from your general practitioner. This may depend on your health insurance plan. It's important to get a referral to a dermatologist because they understand HS is a systemic condition caused by inflammation in the body.
Tips for preparing for your next doctor’s appointment
As you schedule and prepare for your dermatologist appointment, here are some things to keep in mind when discussing your signs and symptoms:
- Fill out the Symptom Quiz and discuss it with your doctor.
- Track your symptoms, and don’t be afraid to bring photos. Since abscesses change over time, taking photos can help you and your doctor see the progression.
- Tell your doctor when you first noticed your signs and symptoms (e.g. the month and day) and where on your body the lesion(s) occurred.
- Write down any thoughts or questions you have before your appointment, so you don’t forget to bring them up.
- Wear loose clothing so you can easily show your symptoms to your doctor.
- List or bring in all of the medicines you take, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
- Mention any HS treatments you've used to treat your lesions—including creams, ointments, pills, etc.
- Tell your doctor what you expect to get from your treatment, including your goals and any concerns you may have.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about your pain or how HS makes you feel. It's important for your doctor to understand how HS affects your overall well-being.