The average time for someone to be correctly diagnosed with Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is 7 years. The longest time Dr. Kaplan has seen was a patient who came in being treated for staph infections not knowing that the entire time she had HS. She thought she had recurrent folliculitis. Some patients assume they have chafing causing the inflamed folliculitis.
So what is HS?
HS which is sometimes called acne inversa, is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that affects apocrine gland-bearing skin in the axillae, groin, and under the breasts. Apocrine glands are responsible for producing the fluid that results in that musky body odor, but they also function as specialized immune glands. Because the apocrine glands connect to the hair follicle, HS is often confused as being an inflammation of the hair follicle. Due to genetics, apocrine glands will become inflamed (not infected with bacteria) and produce boils, nodules, and abscesses that will scar. Mild cases of HS often appear as recurrent folliculitis, which some attribute to hair removal in the axilla and/or groin. HS commonly begins after puberty, with most cases occurring between the ages of 20 and 40 years. This condition is three times more common in females than in males. Other known risk factors include obesity, smoking, being of African descent, and family history.
Due to the pain and scarring, HS has a significant psychological impact, and many patients suffer from anxiety, depression, and impairment of body image.
While there is no cure for Hidradenitis Suppurativa, it can be managed well. The mainstay of treatment until now were antibiotics which did little to improve patients and halt progression. However, there are now a variety of new options that can provide relief from this embarrassing and painful condition.
If you think you may be suffering from HS, call us today at 913-469-1115 to schedule an appointment to diagnose and treat your painful breakouts.