Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects the hair follicles in areas of the body with a high concentration of sweat glands, such as the armpits, groin, and buttocks. It causes painful, pus-filled nodules, abscesses, and scarring that can greatly impact a person’s quality of life.
The exact cause of HS is unknown, but it is believed to be related to a malfunction of the immune system and the hair follicles. Risk factors for developing HS include obesity, smoking, genetics, and hormonal imbalances.
The symptoms of HS can range from mild to severe, and may include painful lumps under the skin, draining pus, foul-smelling drainage, and scarring. The condition can also cause itching, burning, and tenderness in the affected areas. Often the course of this condition is chronic marked by intermittent flare-ups. Occasionally, secondary anaerobic infection can lead to strong smell from the lesions, affecting sexual and social aspects of life.
There is no cure for HS, but there are treatments available that can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. These may include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroids, and surgical procedures such as drainage of abscesses and removal of affected skin.
In addition to medical treatment, lifestyle changes can also help manage HS. Maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and managing stress can all reduce the severity of symptoms. Wearing loose-fitting clothing, avoiding tight or restrictive clothing, and keeping the affected areas clean and dry can also help prevent further irritation and infection.
Living with HS can be challenging, but there are resources available to help. Support groups, online forums, and counseling can provide emotional support and practical advice for managing the condition. It is important to work closely with a healthcare provider to develop an individualized treatment plan that meets the unique needs of each patient.
In conclusion, HS is a chronic skin condition that can cause significant discomfort and scarring in affected individuals. While there is no cure, treatments are available to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight and managing stress, can also be helpful in managing the condition. Seeking support from healthcare providers, support groups, and counseling can help individuals with HS manage the physical and emotional challenges of the condition.
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Consultation & Diagnostics
We’ll take the time to understand & discuss your concerns, including the right course of tests/medications (as needed).
We will offer you the appropriate medications to help manage your condition.
Telephone Follow Up
We will ask you to get in touch to let us know how you’re getting on and if any further action is required.
Consultation (Consultant Doctor) £150 (not inc. in tests)
Consultation (Specialist Nurse) £60 (inc. in tests)
Bacterial Culture & Sensitivity test £150
Fungal Culture & Sensitivity test £150
Bacterial s16 RNA PCR test £250
Fungal s16 RNA PCR test £250
Skin biopsy (with consultant) £250
Medications (in clinic) £30/course
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Page reviewed by Dr. Manoj Malu (Clinical Director)
Last reviewed date: 16 February 2023
Next review due: 16 February 2026
Whilst this content is written and reviewed by sexual health specialists, it is for general guidance only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your clinician.
References & Further Reading
- NHS: Hidradenitis suppurativa
- Mayo Clinic Hidradenitis suppurativa
- American Association of Dermatologists: Hidradenitis suppurativa: Diagnosis and treatment
- Dermnet: Hidradenitis suppurativa
- Cleveland Clinic: Hidradenitis Suppurativa (Acne Inversa): Symptoms & Treatments
- British Association of Dermatologists: Hidradenitis suppurativa
- StatPearls: Hidradenitis suppurativa