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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.

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 have HS and im constantly in pain i had to give up i have had it since i was 16 and im now 25 it took them 10 years to figure out what was wrong with me and now i spend my time in and out out of hospital :(





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Hidradenitis is an auto immune disease. Ever since I can remember I suffered with this skin disease for 10+years. Researching I came across this amazingly lady that explains the reasons these flare ups happen. Its free information and has been such a blessing to me from changing only my diet and the foods that are the culprit for this unruly disease such as wheat, tomatoes, potatoes, and night shades. Check out http://robbwolf.com/2012/04/09/putting-hidradenitis-suppurativa-remission-paleo/ so far mine has been in remission. Praying this will help another person that is desperately needing another option.

I've lived with HD ever since I can remember the pain has now dulled down as I get it so often I didn't rarely feel the pain but they're only in the groin and I only every have max 3 at anytime. I haven't told my doctor just because I've read all the comments and I see that there is no real point unless I want to have surgery and I don't want surgery.





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My daughter has HS and is in tears most of the time. The pain along with the extensive drainage has gotten worse. Physician has put her on acutane with the hope of drying up the drainage prior to going in for surgery.. They have her taking bleach baths to help with drying up the areas. Surgery is our next option. What can we expect for the length of recovery? Her groin and armpits are the areas of concern. We are also looking for support groups.





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i have had both my armpits removed by a plastic surgeon. had them skin graphed i have had no more bother with them. i also have had several ops on my groin but im still getting loads of trouble in both groin areas. im just waiting to go into hospital and have more surgery on my groin area. hot baths several times a day helps a little with the pain. hope your daughter gets some some pain free days. the lengh of recovery is different for every operation. sometimes they leave the wound open and clean it every day that takes a couple of months to heal but it is the best way to do it. if they stitch it up 9 times out of 10 the infection is still there so the surgery was a waste of time so better leaving it open to heal from the inside. hope this post helps you understand a little more

Healing depends on the person ,the docs give u 8 wks it could heal faster...my body took well to the surgery but it was a great choice for me, your daughter will have much joy...good luck

i have had hs and piloninal for over 30yrs. i have had over 20 operations for this terrible disease the pain is terrible and sometimes cant go out because it leaks through my clothes. im starting tp get very deppressed because im always in pain and alson i cant walk because of this. it has ruined my life





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Hi I'm just wondering if there is any type Of laser treatment I would be likely to get sent for to help with my hidradenitis suppurativa. It started when I was a teenager and is getting worse, it started on my inner thighs but is now spreading to bottom of my stomach on and under my breasts and in my armpits I'm terrified it's going to spread to my face or somewhere constantly on show! I'm loosing all my self confidence, I had my partners I've had seeing me undressed and I hate having to explain it's a skin condition just wondering what options are availible for me as I'm now covered in scars which is making me feel down and forcing me to cover up my body





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@Bria if you see this comment, I do have kik, I don't know how to give it to you directly on this website and I don't want to write my kik on a public forum like this. I do want to speak to you but I don't know another way to talk to give you my kik.





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i too have just been diagnosed with HS. After years upon years of pain and antibiotics (which dont seem to make much difference)my doctor diagnosed this and prescribed me an antibiotic/steroid cream called fucibet, this to me is a wonder cream!! the only downside being continuous use can cause thinning of the skin, now flare ups usually last 2-3 days not for weeks and weeks as it used to be. Worth asking your doctor as it works for me brilliantly!!





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I have had this problem since I was a little girl. I never had it bad and not often then. Over the past 12 years or so, I get them all the time. I was actually diagnosed with HS last year. The first and only dr. to give it a name. Sad to say, there is no cure, just treatments and remedies. My oldest daughter is starting to get bumps under arms(no matter how careful and clean I am). So I wonder, is it something passed on through genes? Some of my family have this as well. Also could it be from having a weak immune system? Thank you for taking the time to read this. And im happy to know people give advice on how they treat this horrible diease. Lets hope there will be a cure for this.





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I think it's due to problem of immune system too as I've been very ill so low immune system then I got this for 3 months and then course of lymecyline for a month and dettol anti bacterial spray and better health and immune system and I haven't had a flare up since..touch wood

I've had this for a few years and the modern med community didn't know what they were doing. I was mis-diagnosed and spent lots of $ that didn't do a thing, at least in the long run. Finally I found an inexpensive treatment that works! Topically as a paste applied to area. 10 drops MMS 10 drops activator mix wait 30 secs, watch for color change. add 20 drops DMSO wait 2 mins, it turns into a paste. apply, once or twice daily. You'll know when and when not to. Orally as a drink. In glass 1 drop MMS 1 drop activator will turn yellow wait 30 secs add 4 oz's of Sprite, gingerale or simly apple apple juice. drink 1 per hour for 8 hours





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I have just been diagonised with this. My consultant tells me it's just an imbalance of my hormones as I've had a baby 9 weeks ago. I had one 3 weeks ago and had surgery to remove it. Two days ago I now have 5 more under my arm :-( After reading some of the comments im worried now it's going to be something I have to live with forever?! Dr has prescribed me with antibiotics and have to return to hospital in a weeks time to review!





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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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