WARNING: The Embarrassing Bodies website contains images of an explicit medical nature and nudity in a medical context.

Embarrassing Bodies, 12:35am Thursday 28th May 2015 on More 4. Catch up for free on 4oD »

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.

You can share your experiences and thoughts with other Embarrassing Bodies site-users below. Comments & Questions are reviewed by moderators, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
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 sympathize with anyone suffering from HS. I have suffered with this for over a year now and it is severe in my groin. The pain is unbearable and had had a huge knock on effect in my relationships, work life and now my relationship with my young daughter. Has anyone had any success in defeating this demon yet? I really need help as antibiotics are just not working.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I have hidradenitis Suppurativa - had it for over 30 years, Doctors did not have a name for it so i reseached it myself. the doctors had me on Tetracycaline for 4 years which did not help. i use Dial bacteria soap and a spice called Tumeric - i take the tumeric as soon as i feel it coming on and the boils never come to form. trust me it works! J

I have hs I got diagnosed around 3 years now and i am 38 been to my local gp and he just gives me anti biotic everytime I feel like a walking chemist I dont know why my previous gp didnt diagnosis me with hs before now I have had blood tests cos there is diabetes on my family side and I have got to go for regular check up can some please help me cos sometimes the hs is really annoying when I can't get to sleep thanks if anyone can help





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I have had this in my ground and arm pits for about 15 years I have found that soaking in a hot tub with 2 cups Epsom Salts 1 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup peroxide helps I have several in both arm pits for the last 4 days Soaked in the tub 3 times and they broke open which relieves the pressure It is miserable and I don't even bother with Dr's anymore I also was with Hibicleanse and I never wear deodorant I always carry alcohol wipes to clean up if I need to But deodorant is a sure breakout for me





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I have at least 21 lumps that have appeared under both arm pits. I've never had it before they are itchy one of them had puss the rest are massive big lumps I can hardly put my arms down. Is it just a case of trying to find a head and bursting it.. so painful tho:/





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I understand and sympathise with all of you but you should know that there is still hope. I began suffering from this condition when pregnant with my first child and have had recurring outbreaks since, the pain and embarrassment is unbearable! I went to my doctor who prescribed me antibiotics however these had little to no effect, I was devastated by this as I thought they would be the answer and I really didn't want to undergo surgery as a treatment option. However in my desperation I took to the internet to research treatment forms and came across a great deal of really helpful info on a website called http://curehidradenitissuppurativanow.com and I learned that diet has a huge effect on Hidradenitis and you can actually control it by eating and restricting certain foods, eating raw foods in particular is hugely beneficial! Anyway thanks to this I can now control my outbreaks and have been symptom free for almost a year now! Hope this helps someone! Good luck!





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

for the people who have HS like me I want to share my treatment.. it might help you.. I have HS since I was 18 and now I am already 29.. I had suffered in depression, i couldnt sleep because of the pain and discomfort on my armpits and groins.. people admire me for having a beautiful skin on my face, arms and legs.. the thing they dont know I am suffering too much with the pain on my armpits and groin.. Icouldnt tell anyone because of embarassment that until now my husband still not aware about my pain. I know he loves me but still i couldnt open up to him. I couldnt enjoy life and activities as my husband is an active and adventuruos person. He is always asking me why i have too much band aids and i am using too much medicine and i just lied and lied. Because i got fed up with my situation.. i did a lot and lot of research and tried almost everything. I tried having a hot shower for 30 minutes.. the hotness of the water should be something you can tolerate.. the hot the water it is the better.. wash the affected area like that. then use dettol or any other anti microbial soap.. clean the wounds with betadine. use manuka honey UMF 20+ then cover them with johnson aloe vera bandaid. do the same twice a day. before you exercise.. take a bath with the same process then do the same after exercising. i know it is a lot of work but u have to be patience to heal. eat loads of gree vegetable. avoid the gout food like nuts, dairy, or high purines food. drink a lot of water.. have greean tea all the time.. dont let yourself sweating after the exercise thing. use tea tree oil as deodorant after your wounds healed just to stop them from flairing. avoid fatty foods especailly fast food.. dont make your self full or over eating should be avoided.. i noticed they flaire when i had too much food. just eat fruits or green salad in the evening. Always wear a loose clothes.. dont wear underwear.. use big cotton short instead.. if you are only at home dont wear underwear and bra. I hope this will help.. I wish u all to get over this decease..





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Ive had this embarrsing condition on my buttock for 3 months! I thought I had a splinter that had gone septic and spread! ID been to doctors and they hadn't come across anything like it and are waiting to send me to a dermatologist. I came across this page this evening and my symptoms and the photo is bang on! But its distressing to think theres no cure but boy does it hurt and look awful!

I understand and sympathise with all of you but you should know that there is still hope. I began suffering from this condition when pregnant with my first child and have had recurring outbreaks since, the pain and embarrassment is unbearable! I went to my doctor who prescribed me antibiotics however these had little to no effect, I was devastated by this as I thought they would be the answer and I really didn't want to undergo surgery as a treatment option. However in my desperation I took to the internet to research treatment forms and came across a great deal of really helpful info on a website called http://curehidradenitissuppurativanow.com and I learned that diet has a huge effect on Hidradenitis and you can actually control it by eating and restricting certain foods, eating raw foods in particular is hugely beneficial! Anyway thanks to this I can now control my outbreaks and have been symptom free for almost a year now!





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hello, after reading all the post it's exactly what I been going through the same thing since I was 19 and I'm almost 30. I've Seen So Many Specialist To Tell Me All Types Thing, Getting It drained. I had them on my growing for yes then it just stop and they turned into keloids. Now I have them under the armpit for the last 5 or 6 yrs stop counting.i just had the surgery about 4 days ago I couldn't take it no more. I just opened up to my family about it this last yr. I'm here to tell you, the smell is embarrassing, don't want to wear light color clothing to embarressed if blood soak through my shirt.i could go on and on. I had prayed to god that a miracle would come through cause I tried everything, from boil ease to baking soda bacteria gel, bleach change of diet, exercising to tumeric caps to tea tree oil. Everything you can name I tried it. The best thing to do is go get the shirt cut out.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi I've suffered from this condition since I was pregnant with my first child at 16 , my arm pits are badly scared and had a few on my groin got raw ones under my arm pits at the moment and I'm constantly wearing plasters all the time I've got another one at the minuite size of a golf ball so very very painful !! :( all doctors have done is throw antibiotics at me to which have no effect now :( wish someone had answers





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Ive had 3 lumps like this in my groin recently so im only guessing i have this Condition. But at 30 years old im thinkin why ami getting this now? Yes im over weight so i know its not helping. Nervous about goin to the doctors incase they dont know what im talking about but even worse that they confirm i have it. Ive been putting plasters over the lumps which help but i cant live like this





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.



Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

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





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.



Please don't swear or be rude in your questions, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting questions. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines


Important Notice

The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.


If you want to embed our videos in your site, read our embedding T&Cs here


More Information

  1. Doctor Responses: HS

    In Videos - Dr Christian answers your most frequently asked questions about Hid…

  2. Doctor Responses: Excessive Sweating

    In Videos - Dr Christian answers your most frequently asked questions about exc…

  3. Doctor Responses: Boils

    In Videos - Dr Pixie explains why boils form, what can be done about them and a…

  4. Quick Health Advice: Excessive Sweating

    In Videos - Dr Pixie discusses the causes of excessive sweating and the treatme…

  5. Doctor Responses: Man Boobs

    In Videos - Dr Christian answers your most frequently asked questions about man…

  6. Consultation: Second Adult Circumcision

    In Videos - Dr Jessen examines a patient in need of a new circumcision

  7. Dr Priya Manickavasagar

    Doctor Info - Find out more about Dr Priya.

  8. James Russell

    Doctor Info - Find out more about James Russell.

  9. Consultation: Ichthyosis

    In Videos - Dr Harper treats a women for the skin condition Ichthyosis, with am…

  10. Consultation: Soreness on the Penis

    In Videos - A patient is examined for soreness around his penis

  11. Quick Health Advice: Psoriasis

    In Videos - Dr Harper explains the causes of and treatments available for psor…

  12. Body Check: Sweat

    In Videos - Dr Christian explains the importance of knowing your sweat levels a…

  13. In Detail: Urethral Reconstruction

    In Videos - An in detail look at an operation to reconstruct a man's urethra.

  14. How To Check Your Testicles

    In Videos - Dr Harper's guide to how to self-check your balls against testicula…

  15. Dr Dawn Harper

    Doctor Info - Find out more about Dr Dawn.


Help Beat Cancer

Download our free mobile game to help Reverse The Odds in the fight against cancer.

Available on App Store, Google Play and Amazon App Store >