Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a skin condition that results in expanding tender lumps in the folds of the skin generally in the armpits and groin area. Painful skin lesions, nodules and boils can appear in these inflamed areas, and usually occur in areas of the body where certain sweat glands (known as apocrine sweat glands) are located. Other sites include areas under the breasts, on the buttocks and inner thighs, where the skin rubs together. Lumps that are close together can bond together under the skin.
It is estimated that over 1 million Canadians are currently living with HS, however, the exact number is not known since HS is often misdiagnosed and many who are living with HS don’t seek out a dermatologist for help.
CausesThe exact cause of HS is not known. Multiple genetic and environmental factors appear to play a role. The onset around puberty suggests that hormones contribute to disease process probably through plugging of hair follicles where the apocrine sweat glands are located.
HS is not an infection, rather it is a chronic skin condition. It is important to note that HS is not contagious and is not caused by poor hygiene.
HS commonly occurs in teens, young adults in their early 20s, but can occur at any age. Women are more likely to develop HS than men.
Research has shown that HS may run in families, as 1/3 of HS patients have a family member who is also living with the condition. Other factors that can play a role in developing HS are smoking and being overweight.
HS can be associated with other conditions such as arthritis, severe acne, depression, metabolic syndrome, anemia and inflammatory bowel disease.
Information provided via website or through the support group does not substitute for medical advice. For any medical concerns or questions please contact your doctor. "Hidradenitis & Me" support group is not responsible for any medical decision and we encourage you to contact your medical provider.