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Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic inflammatory and scarring disease of the skin that typically involves the groin, armpits, and/or buttocks. This usually develops after puberty.  The cause is unknown, though it is thought that genetics, hormones, and obesity play a role in the disease.


HS usually starts as painful boils or abscesses in the affected areas.  These abscesses may open and drain, leading to ulcers that heal with scarring.  Pain and wound odor/drainage can impact patients’ quality of life significantly.


Treatment for HS is difficult at best.  Treatment options depend on the severity of the disease. 

  • Wound care (e.g. specialized dressings)

  • Oral antibiotics (e.g. tetracyclines)

  • Topical application or injection of corticosteroids to reduce inflammation

  • Topical antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide or chlorhexidine wash

  • Carbon dioxide or other ablative laser therapy

  • Wide surgical excision and skin grafting in severe cases

  • Other medical treatments include dapsone, isotretinoin, etanercept, adalimumab and infliximab


Effective treatment also relies on weight loss, smoking cessation, healthy diet and lifestyle, and psychosocial support. 

For additional information, please visit the Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation at www.hs-foundation.org