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Conditions

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradentitis suppurativa in the armpit

With a name like hidradenitis suppurativa, it’s perhaps not immediately obvious what kind of condition we’re going to tell you about. However, if you take a moment to look up “suppuration” in the dictionary, you’ll discover that it means “the formation or discharge of pus”, which should start to give you an idea. Hidradenitis is a chronic and stubborn skin disease centred on inflammation of the large specialised sweat glands (apocrine glands) that are found mainly in the armpits and groin area. These areas show a distinctive mixture of boil-like lumps, areas leaking pus, and scarring, which can be itchy, but usually painful, and the lumps hurt if they are pressed. Aside from the pain and unpleasantness of the condition, it can also be embarrassing and unsightly. There are possibly over 100,000 sufferers in the UK alone with this condition, which can be difficult to treat, although there are a number of treatments that can be tried including medications and surgery.

HS is a chronic condition which is managed rather than cured and can unfortunately flare up again even after it has appeared to improve. Further information and support on living with the condition can be obtained by contacting the Hidradenitis Suppurativa Trust.

Watch the Live from the Clinic interactive case video on hidradenitis suppurativa >

Get Involved With A New HS Study

It is estimated that 1% of the population have HS. However the figure could be higher due to lack of recognition. Current management of HS can be unsatisfactory, so more research is needed regarding this distressing condition. The UK Dermatology Clinical Trials Network has set up a Priority Setting Partnership, using the James Lind Alliance model, to tackle this issue. The partnership includes patients (including the Hidradenitis Suppurativa Trust), carers, dermatologists, dermatology nurses, GPs, surgeons and psychologists. The central task is to identify uncertainties about HS and its management, then to prioritise the top 10 selected issues for future research.

To get involved in this research please follow this link to fill out an online survey >

Comments and Questions

The EB doctors have been looking at your comments and have answered some of the common questions below. Remember that it is always best to check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.

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Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

I have suffered with this for about 10 years, I have no sex life and have no confidence at all! I am 25 and while all my friends are settling down and happy, I feel like I'm going to grow old alone... :( doctors take no notice and say it's down to having a few extra lbs! I also suffer with depression and had to leave work recently as it was getting too much. I feel like I can't talk to anyone and don't see the point anymore :(





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I have suffered for 5 years I am a 25 year old female and nothing would work. Had been to numerous doctors and medications. I had been living in orange county california. I recently moved to a mountain area where the elevation is about 6,000 feet and sense the move have not had one new boil!! It has been a month I used to get three new boils a day on my thighs and armpits and I have no new ones!! It's amazing it was the humidity making it so horrible for me!!





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I have hs and I'm waiting to get surgery in both arm pits my questions for every who knows they have hs, is Hs a disability ? Can you claim disability and receive a monthly check being that it causes immobility and depression ?





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I have been struggling with HS in the groin and both armpits for the past 6yrs. It has gotten worse and I am no longer able to work. I have recently been granted disability benefits so the answer is yes :)

Thanks Nicole another question to you how long did it take to get approved and what did u need to apply and get approved

Ive suffered with this condition for years now from the age of 17 im now 34 and its jus getting worse all the time to the point were I dont have my mobility I bleed regulary from my groin and it smells like death the pain is really bad my dr has given me anti biotics but they dont seem to help me I had 3 on my groin last time and was inmy bed for neally 2wks I feel like I have no life and no 1 to turn to my sex life Iis none exsistant as Iim scared all over my groin area and looks awful please somone help me...





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I think I have this condition been to GP several times but they're not really interested where do I go from here





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go see a different doctor. some doctors dont know what it is. try a diff doc

go see a different doctor. some doctors dont know what it is. try a diff doc

I think I have this condition been to GP several times but they're not really interested where do I go from here





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I've suffered with pilonidal sinuses on my back, acne keloidis (dissecting cellulitis of the scalp) and most recently HS and tried soooooooo many things and had sooooo many ops and got so depressed with it all. If you can afford it or have insurance then take my advice and go to the london dermatology centre and see dr chopra who has been on embarassing bodies before. the man is a miracle worker and really nice too.





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Laser surgery was the best for me .... It has made my HS under my arms livable. I only have a small outbreak break every so often in a few areas the laser missed. Change of insurance made it impossible for me to return. I now have them worse in the groin area. So they do move ... But having use of my arms is such a blessing . No cure but sure was life changing for the better. I have it for 40 yrs. Stage 3 for many of them. I just got done with a severe case for 3/4 days. Again having use of my arms is so worth the laser. It's not a seriously painful surgery the HS is so much worse. Hope this helps :)





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i have these boils underneath my stomach and breasts even in my groin area, i have been to see a docyor who has said that i have a stomach infection and cant give me anything, i had this stomach infection for 4yrs now i cant have antibiotics as they dont know where the infection is,i suffer with depression and this on top is making me worse, i feel like i cant turn to anyone my children want me to go swimming but i cant as the scaring and lumps,, please help,





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I've been dealing with cystic acne as a child and the dermatologist put me on Acutane. Still had very moderate acne, but no more cysts. It was a blessing. Then in my late 20's I started getting sores in groin and could hardly walk. Well I'm 38 and now they are between legs,pits and groin. This is the most depressing thing I've ever gone through. Since it has gotten worse I refuse to date and haven't been sexually active in a long time. Sometimes I just wish I wouldn't wake up, but I have two wonderful boys who keep me alive. I just really hate going through life like this and I know exactly what you all are going through. I'm too embarrassed to even go to a Dr. I figure what is the point their is no cure so why go thru the humiliation. The arm pits are the worse and this is the most recent ones I've gotten. At least I could hide others in summer time, will not be able to hide these. I feel like people can smell me especially when they're draining. Just make me sick. I really suffer from depression from this and it hurts. I try to keep a fake smile on but I don't know how long that will last.





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This started about 2 months ago. I had a few boils in my lifetime but nothing like this. I found one lump that one went away. The next month I foub 3 under one arm. They fester up and act like a boil. They keep re curring. Im starting to worry. I am 65 years old with no breast cancer in my history.





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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