What is hidradenitis suppurativa?
Hidradenitis suppurativa is a skin condition affecting surface areas of the body. Generally, these are isolated to parts of the skin that contain hair follicles and that are susceptible to friction, such as the armpits, between the thighs or between the buttocks. It is identifiable by pea-sized lumps under the skin.
Hidradenitis suppurativa usually starts after puberty, at which point it persists and worsens over time. If you suspect you may be suffering from this condition, it is best to get an early diagnosis, as this will help manage symptoms and prevent new cysts from developing.
Hidradenitis suppurativa symptoms
Hidradenitis suppurativa generally occurs on parts of the body where both friction and hair follicles are present. While it will sometimes only affect one portion of the body, it can also affect multiple portions, causing greater discomfort and pain.
Specific symptoms of hidradenitis include:
Red, sensitive bumps, often containing foul-smelling pus
Painful pea-sized lumps
Leaking lumps or lesions.
Hidradenitis suppurativa begins with a single lump that may persist for some time. Oftentimes this will worsen and spread, affecting multiple areas of the body. Some only experience mild symptoms, while others experience severe discomfort that requires surgery to correct.
Mild symptoms can frequently be treated by self-applied skin care measures. If the condition worsens, you may need to consult a doctor.
Symptoms that may require a doctor’s care include:
No improvement over a period of weeks
Symptoms returning within weeks of treatment
Symptoms in multiple locations
Frequently recurring symptoms
Hidradenitis suppurativa non-surgical treatment options
At this time, it is known that hidradenitis suppurativa is caused by blockage of sweat glands, causing pus-filled bumps that are often painful and unsightly. Unfortunately, the exact cause of the blockage is unknown, making hidradenitis suppurativa an incurable condition. Despite this, its symptoms may be managed by dermatologists or other physicians who are familiar with skin disorders. While milder symptoms may be eliminated by basic skin care and routine dermatological maintenance, more severe symptoms are managed only by surgery, effectively eliminating the condition from the inside out.
Milder symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa may be managed by topical cream or with antibiotics. In more severe cases of hidradenitis suppurativa, surgery may be necessary. In this case, surgery can include procedures that drain the lesions of their contents. Sometimes the surgery may require removing the affected tissue and applying a skin graft.
For those experiencing hidradenitis suppurativa symptoms of a mild nature, a hidradenitis treatment can be non-invasive, primarily in the form of medications that are taken orally, injected, or applied directly to the skin as an ointment. Such medications include:
These may be used to prevent the spread of disease and may actually prohibit the incidence of future outbreaks. Whether in pill form or as an ointment, those experiencing mild symptoms may effectively manage their hidradenitis suppurativa symptoms with these non-invasive options.
Primarily used to treat inflammation, these steroid medications are injected or taken orally, depending upon the exact form applied.
There are other medications which have shown great promise in treating the symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa. You may consult your dermatologist to find out more. However, some of these medications may increase the risk of infection or heart failure.
Hidradenitis suppurativa surgery options
Ideally your symptoms are not severe enough to require anything more than an ointment or other medication. However, hidradenitis suppurativa can take many forms and degrees of severity, sometimes requiring the patient to undergo surgery in order to handle the outbreak. In this case we are ready to deliver the finest, most effective hidradenitis suppurativa surgery Los Angeles has to offer. The surgical procedures for hidradenitis suppurativa treatments we offer include:
Because the lesions associated with hidradenitis suppurativa contain pus, it may be necessary to use surgery to drain the contents of such lesions. While it may be tempting to do this yourself with the use of a pin or other puncturing device, the leaking pus may cause a transmission of the condition other parts of your skin. In addition, the pus is deep-seated, creating a need for incisions made by a professional surgeon and hidradenitis suppurativa specialists.
A peculiar aspect of hidradenitis suppurativa is that it creates tunnels under the skin that connect the surface bumps and lesions. These tunnels serve to worsen the condition in a way that is unseen unless breached by a surgeon’s scalpel. This method, also known as de-roofing, cuts away the skin that covers any tunnels that link the separate lumps. Despite this procedure, the condition may return to the treated area or another portion of the body.
The most drastic measure taken is total removal of the affected area. This hidradenitis suppurativa treatment procedure serves to clear away the entire affected area. In order to do this, a skin graft may be necessary to ensure the damaged area is totally covered. This is the most involved surgical procedure for hidradenitis suppurativa treatment, requiring high level, expert surgical care.
We specialize in surgery to treat serious cases of hidradenitis suppurativa. Dr. Memsic and her team are accomplished in techniques to eliminate the unwanted symptoms of this troublesome condition. Consider our center a sanctuary, where you may come to receive relief from the pain and suffering caused by hidradenitis suppurativa. Please give us a call to schedule a consultation.
There are several factors that can heighten the incidence of hidradenitis suppurativa. These factors include:
- Age. Generally, hidradenitis occurs in young adults, from puberty to age 30.
- Gender. Women are statistically more likely to contract hidradenitis than men.
- Family history. Studies have shown that hidradenitis may be genetic.
There are several side effects arising from hidradenitis suppurativa. Each one of these is another reason to get the condition treated as soon as possible by a hidradenitis suppurativa specialist, as these complications are decidedly unpleasant, including:
- Scars and skin changes. Much like acne, hidradenitis suppurativa is likely to leave scars on the affected site.
- Restricted movement. Due to the sore and painful nature of hidradenitis suppurativa lesions, your movement may be restricted in affected areas.
- Obstructed lymph drainage. Oftentimes hidradenitis suppurativa occurs in lymph drainage sites. Once this condition turns to scar tissue, it can block the lymph drainage system, resulting in swelling.