Preparing for your
Doctor Appointment

When it’s time for your appointment, you should be prepared to discuss your hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) signs and symptoms with a dermatologist. It’s a good idea to write down some thoughts or questions before your appointment, so you won’t forget to ask any of them.

  • Wear loose clothing so you can easily show your symptoms to your doctor.
  • Write down your signs and symptoms, and don’t be afraid to bring in photos. Your abscesses change over time, so by taking photos, you can help your doctor see the progression.
  • Fill out the Symptom Quiz and discuss it with your doctor.
  • 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. Tracking your symptoms will help you remember if any have recurred.
  • List or bring in all of the medicines you take, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements. You may even want to bring the original bottles to your appointment.
  • Mention any of the HS treatments you have used to treat your lesions—including creams, ointments, pills, etc.
  • Tell your doctor what you expect to get from your treatment.

How is HS diagnosed?

To diagnose HS, your dermatologist will examine your skin closely and ask you a number of questions about your signs and symptoms. If any of your lesions are leaking fluid, he or she may swab the fluid to find out if you have an infection.

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Nodule

A small bump or lump under the skin.

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Abscess

A collection of pus causing swelling and inflammation in the surrounding skin.

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Rupture

Forcibly tearing or bursting through the skin.

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Hair follicle

The root where hair grows.

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Chronic

Continuing or occurring again and again for a long time.

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Comorbidities

Medical conditions that appear together.

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Triglycerides

A type of fat found in the blood that might raise your risk of coronary artery disease.

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HDL cholesterol

High-Density Lipoprotein cholesterol, or “good cholesterol.” High HDL cholesterol levels are desirable, as they reduce the risk for cardiovascular (heart) disease.

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Glucose

Sugar in bloodstream, derived from carbohydrates.

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Lesion

An ulcer or sore on the skin, such as those caused by HS.

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Fistula

An abnormal connection or tunnel under the skin that forms because of injury, infection or inflammation.

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Sinus tract

A narrow tunnel under the skin that is open on one end and lets fluid escape or drains fluid.

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Corticosteroids

A medicine used to relieve swelling, itching, and redness in the body.

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Infusion

The slow therapeutic introduction of a medication into the body via a vein.

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De-roofing

Removing the top of a cyst, sinus tract, or abscess by surgery.

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