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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've had this condition for 15 years. I've always been too embarrassed to go to a dr. After researching and realising this is what I have I have made a GP apt for this week. I just wish I hadn't been so embarrassed - my entire body is covered in scars and angry red boils. I can't bare to even look at my body in a mirror - it disgusts me and I dont even like my partner to see me in the light. Do the scars fade when you get treatment, or will they remain as angry looking? I suffer from depression too - and feeling so disgusted with myself just adds to it. Yours hopefully,





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Hello there, i'm 15 and also a sufferer of this condition. I just wanted to reassure your querie, I have had an operation under my armpits what will be 2 years ago in July and my scars have healed and faded quite well, and I'm sure will get even more discrete over the years. I really can sympathise with you as mine do tend to flare up now and again, and I'm currently on a new dose of antibiotics after a 6 month course seemed to stop working and I've had a flare up in my groin which has made walking almost unbearable for the past week, obviously creating a problem as I'm in and out of school. I can honestly say that going to your doctor will be very very helpful to you, as they can give you information and may lead you to getting antibiotics and possibly having a similar operation to me, which really makes them more manageable. As for depression I went through this also for a while, as you know the sight and pain really get you down, I was stopped from wearing a lot of clothes I wanted to last summer from embarrassment and dressings, and smell was quite a problem for me as people started to notice, this caused me to be paranoid and when I overheard someone making a comment on how silly or funny my dressings looked under my arms it really really got to me. I'm quite sorry I've written such a large reply, but before I had this condition I'd never heard of anything like it before, so I'd just like to help anyone in the same boat as much as I can with my experiences of about 3 years, believe it or not I haven't even been very detailed! hope this was helpful in some way to you.

Please don't feel disgusted. OK it's not a pleasant thing to deal with, but it is just an illness after all. Nothing you have done to cause it, you are like hundreds of others just unlucky to have HS. It's good you are going to get medical help, but do join a group for H.S. There are plenty out there & it's good to talk over your illness with them. Do try Bio-oil for the scars - it really does help. Good luck & remember you arenot alone, there are plenty f people out theresuffering the same as ou & only too willing to give you helpand support.

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I have just discovered this is what I have in my groin it weeps in the night and bleeds periodically itches too and can be extremely painful I have had abs but it just goes down then fires up again it's hard and purplish and is right where my panty line is its so depressing !!





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I feel disgusting every time I see myself. I have it under my armpits, under my boobs, on my belly, on my groin...I look like a dot to dot of angry red marks. I spend all my time worrying that somebody might notice it. My sex drive is non existent because I can't bear the thought of my wife seeing me naked. It's awful.

I have been suffering with HS for at least 10 yrs, an just today found out what it was. Its my underarms, bra an panty line an also inner thighs.. I just want it to go away!! Its so embarrassing an painful!! I always thought that I was the only one.. Here to a long road of finding something a to least calm it down..





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I have been told today I have HS, finally after 35yrs of antibotics someone knows what it is! I have been misdiagnosed for years. I also present symptoms of malaise and depression, but was never linked! Off to the dermatologist next, here's hoping!





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





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