Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS)
What is HS?
It is a chronic skin condition with reoccurring red, sore boils.
- The boils can be open and draining.
- Drainage can smell foul.
- Boils can be single or in groups.
- Blackheads are often seen.
- Tunnels can form under the skin to connect the boils.
It is more likely in females than males. It tends to be worse in males.
It is found on the body where there are warm, moist sweat glands, such as:
- Arm pits
- Under breasts
- Creases of the groin
What causes this?
It is caused by blockage of the oil ducts and hair follicles that lead to the skin surface. The blockage causes a buildup of bacteria. This leads to:
How is it diagnosed?
Your provider may see skin changes in the common places.
- Can be treated with antibiotics
- Do not come back in the same place after treatment
- Point straight up to the surface when they rupture.
- If they point sideways, it is a sign of HS.
Depends how severe the HS is.
- Always follow the Skin Care Guidelines you are given.
- You may need to use a special soap.
- Do not squeeze or pinch the boils.
- Wear very loose-fitting clothing.
- Keep your body weight in the ideal range.
- Stop smoking.
- There is a strong relationship between smoking and HS.
- It causes plugging of the pores.
- Smoking slows healing.
- Antibiotics lessen the redness, warmth, pain, and swelling. These may be put on your skin or taken by mouth.
- Surgery is sometimes needed for the worst cases.
The Obstetrics Gynecology Clinic at 319-356-2294 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For urgent questions or concerns
Call toll-free at 800-777-8442, 24 hours a day
Ask for the gynecology resident on call.
You may be asked some questions when using the toll-free number.