Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Hidradenitis Suppurativa
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Hidradenitis Suppurativa aka Acne Inversa

Hidradenitis Suppurativa is also called acne inversa. It is a painful condition where small lumps form under the skin in areas where the skin rubs together, like armpits, buttocks, breasts, and groin. The lumps take a long time to heal, resulting in skin scarring and tunnels. They also reappear in some cases. 

Hidradenitis Suppurativa starts after puberty and may be seen before you reach 40 years. Unfortunately, the condition gets worse as you grow old. Women and Black people are at a higher risk due to genetic reasons. However, anyone can experience the symptoms of acne inversa.

Symptoms and Causes of Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Typically, Hidradenitis Suppurativa is caused when the hair follicle is blocked due to unknown reasons. Experts say it could be due to smoking, genetics, hormones, etc. 

A few symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa are as follows: 

  • Blackheads, usually in pairs
  • Pea-sized lumps that stay the same for weeks or months 
  • Leaky sores that break open to release pus and odour
  • Tunnels under the skin connecting the lumps 
  • People who smoke and suffer from excessive weight are more likely to experience severe symptoms. 
  • People in their teens and 20s are more prone to acne inversa. It can also be inherited.
  • Individuals with severe acne, diabetes, arthritis, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and metabolic syndrome may also see more symptoms of this condition. 

In some cases, the symptoms are mild and stay the same.

Complications Caused by Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradenitis Suppurativa is not without complications, though these are seen in severe conditions. 

  • Secondary infection in the affected area.
  • Rope-like scars, even after healing.
  • Restricted movement where the lumps occur, especially the armpits and thighs .
  • Swelling in the genitals, arms, and legs.
  • Odor when there is pus discharge.
  • Social isolation caused by discomfort and pain. 
  • Skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma).
Treatment Methods Used at Mehektagul Clinic

Hidradenitis Suppurativa can go on for many years and may not be fully treated. Treatments focus more on reducing pain and minimizing the symptoms to provide relief. The treatment will depend on where the lumps have appeared and the severity of your case. Some of the treatment methods are:

  • Warm Compress

Place a warm compress on the affected area for ten minutes every day or twice a day. This works when the symptoms are mild. 

  • NSAIDs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are OTC (over-the-counter) medicines to reduce pain and swelling. These are aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. However, don’t take more pills than necessary. 

  • Oral Retinoids

Oral retinoid medicines like aci-tre-tin (So-ri-at-ane) or iso-tre-tin-oin (Acc-uta-ne) are prescribed when acne inversa is severe. This is prescribed when the condition cannot be managed through topical creams and compresses. 

  • Antibiotics

Antibiotics like do-xy-cy-cl-ine or min-ocy-cli-ne are prescribed for several months to fight the infections in severe cases. The doctor will adjust the course based on your condition. 

  • Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are injected directly into the lumps every three months. If the condition persists, the doctor will use oral steroids for faster relief. 

  • Hormone Therapy

Some women can find relief from Hidradenitis Suppurativa if they use birth control pills. However, this can lead to other side effects and is not always the first treatment choice. 

  • Topical Resorcinol

Topical resorcinol is a type of chemical peel applied to the affected areas to reduce inflammation and lumps. 

  • Biologics

Biologics are drugs that work on the immune system. Ad-ali-mu-mab is an FDA-approved (Food and Drug Administration) medicine to treat acne inversa. It is injected into the veins through the IV system. Biologics can have side effects when used in the long term and are prescribed only in rare cases. 

  • Surgery 

The last option to treat Hidradenitis Suppurativa is to perform surgery to remove them. This is recommended for highly severe conditions with deep lumps in the skin. The surgery can be of different types. 

A simple surgery involves cutting open the bumps to release the pus and provide short-term relief. A grafting surgery is when skin from other body parts is transferred to the affected area after removing the lumps. Deroofing is a third type of surgery where the bumps are converted into scars so that they won’t hurt. This method is suitable if the lumps reappear often. 

  • Laser Surgery 

This is the latest option to treat Hidradenitis Suppurativa by destroying the hair follicles in the affected area. You will need multiple sessions to burn the hair follicles completely and prevent the bumps from recurring.

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Hidradenitis Suppurativa

The following tips and lifestyle changes can reduce the severity of acne inversa and slow down the breakouts. The tips include:

  • Lose extra weight and maintain a healthy BMI
  • Quit smoking 
  • Wear loose-fitted clothing
  • Keep the affected area clean 
  • Don’t shave the lumpy areas (ask the doctor for the best hair removal method) 
  • Keep the body temperature from getting too warm in hot conditions 
  • Don’t use deodorants and perfumes without a doctor’s approval 
  • Cover the lump with clean gauze if it oozes pus 
  • Follow a plant-based diet 
  • Manage food sensitivity and stay away from allergic items 
  • Reduce sugar intake 

Hidradenitis Suppurativa is best treated during the early stages and is less painful. Following a healthy lifestyle will reduce the risk of the lumps reappearing over time. 

To get effective treatment for Hidradenitis Suppurativa by our expert dermatologist, book an appointment at Mehektagul Dermaclinic. Our team of experts are dedicated to providing the best treatment. 

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