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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.

7 years suffering with this now.. Male.....40..groin and buttocks... Worked through all natural approaches I can find,tried most antibiotic and combinations of, stopped smoking, lost 40 lbs. Going to try direct biological/ Corticocsteroid injections next and if that fails laser treatment..... Here's hoping!





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Hibiclens soap is amazing! I've had HS since I was about 9. I'm 23 now. I used to get the sores under my arms the worst, those have seemed to clear up and no flares there for years. Mainly I have them in the groin area. They're painful sometimes and uncomfortable, but I have used hibiclens in the area for about 5 years, and it clears up the sores so fast! It's almost like it penetrates the skin and goes right to the source of the issue. I use the soap daily when I have a flare up and a few times a week when I dont. I feel like it helps reduce the flares and the size of the nodules. The generic doesn't seem to work as well so I stick with name brand. I took accutane for cystic facial acne and that helped with the HS a little bit too. Not a cure for the nodules in the groin, but my face and underarms healed great! Not recommending this for anyone though. Side effects were awful. The nodules on my face were more painful than the groin. My dermatologist said they were similar in composition. HS effects the sweat glands. Mainly sebaceous. Same with the face issue I had. It's a nasty disease but I'm glad I'm not alone even though it feels like it sometimes





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Hi, I was diagnosed with hidradenitis suppurativa three years. I got my first symptoms of HS 6 years ago, when I was 10. The GP's were baffled and called it folliculitis. I used to get the boils/lumps in the most common areas (groin, anus and armpits), now it's just in the groin. I was referred to the hospital in 2011 and I must say, my condition has improved. I've been given a cocktail of meds (antibiotics, creams and wash). I was still having bad flares, so my doctor suggested injecting steroids into the boil/lump. That has worked so well, it took sometime for my body to get used to it (2 days) but that has worked! The thought of a needle going into such a private place is not pleasant but the pain is worth it.





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When I get pregnant my armpit starting to big until I gave birth it didn't come off and I can feel the milk producing in my armpit going through my breast . So now still saggy and have fats . Pls help thank you





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I suffered for years and was under various prescriptions, nothing really worked effectively for very long. I search the Net and found something all natural..to date I have had no flare ups.





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What was the natural product?

My bro had this condition and tried lots of alternative treatments but failed, thats until he found this treatment here http://cure-hidradenitis-suppurativa.blogspot.co.nz/ and now hes enjoying a normal life





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after watching the show and seeing this condition i have realised that this is the condition the specialist i saw diagnosed me with, i have these lumps on inner thighs in high concentrations, top of my bottom,on my groin, side of my face(both sides but only one small one each side) and have a few lumps on my neck too. i have had a few operations on the same pilonidal sinus as well. to date i have just got on with it and went through the daily pain, discomfort and leakage whilst being bounced around between doctors and specialists with no real solutions except washing as much as possible however no amount of attepting to scrub these painful eyesores i feel will remedy the problem. is there anything that i can try that will actually make a difference as sometimes it is difficult to walk or sit and i would just like to feel normal and painless for the first time in about 10 years..... help pease!





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I got HS when I was around the 11-13 years old, I am now 19 . For so many years I have asked doctors etc. What it was, 3 answers were impetigo the rest of them didn't know what it was, had tests, swabs of the puss sent for testing and came back as no bad bacteria. There was a stage that it was too painful to sit, walk, touch. I had to stay in an office at school to work and had to get a donut pillow to be able to sit down. But now at 19 they have started to join to make tunnel passages like it's connecting together, they all are like that. When you squeeze the puss out it has a few holes to come out of just from that one. These are all over my bottom has anyone else got it that bad or similar. Thanks





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My sister has a severe case like your. She to have a major surgery to remove it and the glands. Lots of surgery.. Hidradinitus supportive see a surgeon immediately.. Antibiotics won't work when it starts tunneling.. Good luck!!

i was in pain for 9 months, had surgery on both underarms. so far so good.





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I had surgery and they came back after 3 years

Had this for over 20 years. Seen by dermatoligists had medication and countless antibiotics. Work was tough (nurse!) due to pus oozing in my arm pits and skin rubbing and becoming excoriated. Eventually after several ops to drain the abcesses.my consultant offered me major surgery to remove of sweat glands and skin graft both axilla areas. BEST THING I EVER DID no more sore skin. This was in 2007.Have since had 2 ops around anal and groin areas in2008. Have been free of this awful condition since. If you are offered the chance of surgery be brave and go for it





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Husband has had condition for 40+ years. Suffered with 4 to 5 flare-ups a year. Had surgical removal in 2008 and symptom free for 6 years. Another bout in 2014 and another surgery. Surgery is the best choice of all suggested treatments, if you want relief.





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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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