Hidradenitis suppurativa: causes, symptoms and treatment

MEANING. Skin ailments can give you hell of your time. It worsens when you suffer from perplexing kind of boils and acnes. Well, chances are you might be suffering from chronic skin disease called as ‘Hidradenitis Suppurativa’.Derived from the Greek word ‘hidros’ and ‘aden’ meaning ‘sweat’ and ‘glands’ respectively. A chronic skin disorders of the apocrine glands; is perceptible on certain parts of the body.

Here, for reasons unknown, there is blockage of the apocrine glands. Generally, this scarring disease does not develop before puberty. It occurs between the age group of 20 to 40 years both in males and females.

CAUSES

Hidradenitis suppurativa affects more women than men, with a female-to-male ratio as high as 4:1. It is marked by periods of inflammation with occasional secondary infection, and intermittent remissions that can last several years.

There are signs of shorter menstrual cycles and longer duration of menstrual flow. It may be due to stress and depression.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa results into pus formation. It affects the inverse areas of the body in the skin folds of inner thighs, buttocks, genitals and armpits. In women, pus forms under her breasts. In rare cases, it forms on the stomach or behind the ears.

In the beginning, it starts as reddish swelling. With each passing day, the laceration grows bigger and opens up to the skin surface forming a yellow fluid. The infected area heals leaving behind scars. Later on, it aggravates leading to complications.

SYMPTOMS

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a non-contagious skin disease. Therefore, the symptoms and healing processes vary from patient to patient. It can be as tiny as blackheads and pimples. Or it can be as large as draining gashes, resembling in the size of golf balls. Sometimes, it might cause irritation and burning sensation.

If in one year, you suffer from three painful boils, it is better to consult your dermatologist to diagnose the right skin disorder.

Normally, he will tell you which stage of skin disorder has it advanced. It could be in the form of scars, lumps, acnes, abscesses and sinus tracts.

TREATMENT

So far, there was no full-fledged treatment for hidradenitis suppurativa. The following are the various kinds of treatments available for hidradenitis suppurativa patients:

  • You can begin with conservative measures like warm baths, hydrotherapy, and topical cleansing agents to reduce bacterial load.
  • There are oral and topical antibiotics, which can be taken as per the dermatologist advice. They can be taken as a long term preventive measures or short-term secondary infections.
  • Intra-lesional injections to reduce swelling
  • Anti-inflammatory pills in severe cases.
  • High-dose systemic steroids
  • Birth control Pills–as a measure to balance hormones
  • Tight fitting clothing and shaving the areas are to be strictly avoided. The infected areas should be cleaned daily with antibacterial soap.
  • Surgery is the most effective treatment for hidradenitis. They can be done depending upon the gravity of the ailment. In severe cases, skin grafts and plastic surgery may be advisable.
  • Radiotherapy is proving to be successful in some patients.

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