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Hidradenitis suppurativa

What is it?

Formerly included in the bacterial skin infections, hidradenitis is now considered an inflammatory process that affects the apocrine sweat glands due to a personal tendency and can be aggravated by infection.

The follicular duct obstruction is the main factor triggering the disease and the use of antiperspirants deodorants and waxing for hair removal are considered predisposing factors for the emergence or worsening of the disease, which mostly affects women.

Characteristics and symptoms

The disease occurs in the armpits, pubic and perianal region, groin and breasts, areas where apocrine glands are found.

It is characterized by a red, sore lump similar to a furuncle. It may be small with little inflammation or big and very inflammatory. Usually is accompanied by pain. The rupture of the lesion lets out pus but, sometimes, this is not sufficient for regression.

It may be a single lesion or more, and affect more than one location simultaneously. The evolution of hidradenitis varies and it can be a unique episode or recur over the years. In these cases, the various inflammatory lesions eventually leave fibrous scars in the affected sites (below).


As the follicular obstruction can be associated with the onset or the exacerbation of hidradenitis, one should avoid using antiperspirants deodorants, shaving and waxing for hair removal. Women should only cut the hair very close to the skin.

Treatment is done with local and systemic antibiotics. In larger lesions, usually very painful, it can be made an incision for drainage, which immediately reduces the pain.

When the disease presents recurrent episodes, surgical treatment can be done, to remove the sweat glands of the affected region. The dermatologist is qualified to indicate the best treatment for each case.

Related articles

- Furuncle
- Hyperidrosis

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