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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.

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.

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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I have been suffering with hs for a few months now and didn't know what it was I was afraid I had an std or something as they started to flare up around my public hair my groin and bottom of my stomach I went back to the doctors yesterday who told me it was hs as I've never heard of it I haven't got a clue what best to manage it best foods to eat ect? I'm being referred to a dermatologist when I looked up on the nhs website they mentioned 3 stages and I am currently in stage 2-3 can anyone give me advice please?? X





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HI Kirsty, I have been living with this condition for 12 years now. The things that impact my HS outburst are spicy and deep fried food. Also any things that produce more heat in the body like eggs. I use a homeopathic medicine which is called Emuaid Max, which helps me keep the inflammation in control. Also, I take bath two times to keep the flares clean. If you smoke, that may be another reason of flares. If you are obese, this may be more as well. My doctors told me there is no cure to it other than the surgical removal of the flares. But I think the change in the lifestyle might help you. Hope that helps :) (disclaimer: I am not ENDORSING Emuaid. I use it and it helps.But is very costly as well)

I have had this condition for over 20 years now, my dr would not know what it was and say its body acne, suck it up buttercup.i find using pure borax in my bath helps too a cup in the tub





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Can this disorder cause Reynardsdisease?





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Can this disorder cause Reynardsdisease?





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What about trying acupuncture for the disease? Anyone who did?





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I am a HS sufferer and have been for 10 years now and im only 17 over the past 10 years kept going back and forth to the doctors they just told me it was either skin condition or hair follicles and brushed it under the carpet after persisting over the past few months i was refereed to a dermatologist who have now put me on antibiotics and a hibbi surgical scrub this is not working!! got to go back soon to see what else they can do but they think the only thing that may work is a skin graft i get these on both the inner parts of my thigh and both underarm pits!





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I have suffered for 20 years until I have just been diagnosed what a relief! I have been put on a low antibiotic tablet once a day for the next 3 months. let's see how it goes

I have been suffering with HS for about 4 or 5 years now. I am only 16 years old. I have tried many topical creams, washes, medications, none of it seems to work. Does anyone know of any surgeries that seemed to help? Or a certain wash or medicine that helped more than the rest? It would mean a lot to me, being so young and living with this horrific disease.





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I am also 16 and have had this for 4 to 5 years. I was originally placed on antibiotics and birth control pills, but they didn't help. Just last year I switched doctors and was refereed to a dermatologist, I was very lucky and got an intern who knew alot about this disease and put me on hibeclens body wash and a continued usage of minocycline.

Hey.. I'm also suffering from HS. I've had the abscesses in my underarms and I've had many operations to drain them or get them thoroughly clean. The only thing that helped me was getting skin graft done in both underarms where I had the abscesses.. Skin graft where they took a layer of skin from each thigh and stitched the skin into my armpit. I hope this helps.

I have been down the antibiotic cocktail route like others t o no avail. No Dapsone does NOT work at all!





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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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