What is HS?

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that may be caused by malfunctions in the body’s immune system. It might start with a bump on your inner thigh or what you might mistake as a pimple in your armpit. But then it progresses to what are actually painful abscesses that may eventually rupture.

Though HS can affect men and women in different ways, it usually starts to develop in areas where you have hair and also where skin rubs against skin. Here are some locations it may occur:

MEN

The ears

Back of neck

The underarms

The groin area

The buttocks

The inner thighs

WOMEN

Underneath
the breasts

The underarms

The groin area

The buttocks

The inner thighs

HS usually develops around puberty—commonly showing up in young adults during their early 20s—but it can occur at any age. The chances of getting it after the age of 55 are rare. HS is more common in women—in fact, women are 3 times more likely than men to get HS. Research shows that there can be a genetic component with HS. About 1/3 of people diagnosed with HS have a family member also living with the condition.

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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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