The search for the cause of HS has been difficult. Suggested causes include:
Ratio: F:M is 3:1
When people first get hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), they often see:
Without treatment, HS can worsen. If this disease progresses, the person may develop:
HS develops on skin that tends to get little or no direct sunlight. Yet, a few people have developed squamous cell carcinoma, a common type of skin cancer, where they had HS breakouts and scarring for years. Most cases developed in men who had long-standing HS on their genitals or around their anus.
Without treatment, HS can continue its cycle of breakouts and healing. As the breakouts clear, scars form. Continual healing and scarring can cause hollow passages called fistulas to develop inside the body. Fistulas can be painful and require surgery to repair.
How do dermatologists treat hidradenitis suppurativa?
Dermatologists offer patients who have hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) many treatment options, including many different medicines. Surgery may be an option when HS is severe or fails to respond to other treatment.
Treatment can help patients with HS:
Dermatologists frequently use the treatments listed below, so they have in-depth knowledge and experience using them.
Medicines used to treat HS: If you have HS, your dermatologist may include one or more of the following in your treatment plan:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first treatment for HS in 2015. It is a biologic called adalimumab (a dal aye’mu mab). In studies, the patients who received adalimumab had noticeably fewer abscesses and nodules.
The FDA has approved adalimumab for adults who have moderate (Hurley stage II) or severe (Hurley stage III) HS.
Surgical treatment for HS: When HS grows deep into the skin, medicine alone may not be effective. Your dermatologist may recommend a surgical procedure. The following can be performed in a dermatologist’s office or clinic:
No one treatment works for everyone who has HS. Sometimes, a patient needs to try a few different treatments to find one that works.
Many people have HS for life. Studies continue to show that making certain lifestyle changes can help tremendously. Weight loss has proven so effective that some patients say maintaining a healthy weight prevents HS breakouts.