If you are experiencing painful bumps beneath your skin near your sweat glands, you may be suffering from a condition known as hidradenitis suppurativa. Unfortunately, there is no cure, but there are some treatments to alleviate some of the pain associated with the condition and to reduce flare-ups. This article discusses the causes of HS as well as some of those treatments
Hidradenitis suppurativa is caused when sweat glands get blocked. Most of those with the condition first experience their symptoms in their teens or 20s. Women are more likely to have it than men, as are smokers and those who are overweight. Those with acne are also more susceptible. Genetics and improper immune system response may also be a contributing factor.
There are several options available for treating this skin condition. If the case is mild you should first try warm compresses. Another relatively simple treatment option is over the counter NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen..
Antibiotics may be used to treat it as well. These can be in pill form or a cream you can rub on the affected area. You will likely be prescribed a tetracycline derivative or clindamycin at first. If these don’t get results after two or three months, your doctor will likely prescribe a combination treatment of rifampin or clindamycin.
Corticosteroids is another treatment your doctor may recommend. If you go this route the doctor will inject the medicine into the bumps once every month for three months. This can ease pain, swelling, and inflammation. For more severe cases, your doctor might suggest an oral retinoid like acitretin or isotretinoin. Hormone therapy may be an option for some women. These may in the form of birth control or spironolactone.
Biologics are another possible treatment method for HS. These work on your immune system by receiving a shot, either by a doctor, or less commonly, self administered. In some cases, they may be given by IV. Common examples of biologics include Adalimumab, Etanercept, Infliximab, and Etanercept-szzs.
Surgery may be recommended if the bumps grow deep into the skin. This is done by cutting open pockets and draining the pus from the affected area.
In addition to medical options, there are some self-care things you can do to manage and treat your condition. These include avoiding tight fitting clothing and products that irritate the skin. You will also want to avoid popping the bumps and shaving the affected skin. As mentioned above, people who smoke are more likely to experience hidradenitis suppurativa, so if you are a smoker, you should try to quit.
To conclude, it is important to be aware of the causes and symptoms associated with hidradenitis. If you believe you are suffering from the condition, you may want to visit a doctor who will give a diagnosis and recommend certain treatments. These may be as simple as warm compresses or NSAIDs or serious as surgery. Commonly, it will be something in between like antibiotics or corticosteroids. It is also important to make certain lifestyle changes like wearing looser fitting clothing to manage the condition.