Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic condition that is not considered to be dangerous in any way, but it can be extremely unpleasant. Chronic conditions, once developed, will be present on a long term basis, possibly even for the rest of the patient’s life. Sweat gland disease – hidradenitis suppurativa affects the skin, and the symptoms will usually be most severe in the groin and armpit regions. However, they can spread to other regions of the body, in particularly severe cases.
The symptoms of sweat gland disease – hidradenitis suppurativa begin when the sweat glands become inflamed and the hair follicles become blocked. Approximately one percent of adults are thought to be affected by the condition. However, this figure may be an underestimate as many people choose not to go to the doctor with potentially embarrassing conditions such as this. The cause is not yet known, and treatments consist primarily of trying to manage the symptoms and reduce the pain.
Sweat gland disease – hidradenitis suppurativa can be seen as a range of symptoms from small blackheads and boils to large cysts and pus-filled channels in the skin. These lumps can become infected with bacteria, which will often be species that are found naturally on the surface of the skin, acting as opportunistic organisms. These may need to be treated with a course of antibiotics in order to clear the infection.
This sweat gland disease will usually begin with a small, firm lump developing in a single location. In milder cases, this will resolve without the need for treatment, but in more severe cases, there will be more lumps developing in the surrounding areas, and these may rupture and leak pus out onto the skin.
As the condition becomes more severe, sinus tracts may form underneath the skin, between the various nodules and abscesses. These are channels under the skin that may gradually open up and leak pus. Once the condition has developed, it will be present for the rest of the patient’s life, and it is necessary to manage the condition both continuously and appropriately.
Your doctor should be able to offer advice about how best to minimise your symptoms. There are several different methods that can be used to treat hidradenitis suppurativa, and the recommended methods for you will probably depend on the severity of your condition.
Hidradenitis suppurativa will normally be classified into three stages of the disease. Stage 1 is the mildest, with a few abscesses and nodules present, but no sinus tracts, and there is no visible scarring. Stage 2 is moderate, and has a larger number of abscesses reaching a much wider extent. Some sinus tracts are beginning to form during this stage. Stage 3 is the most severe form of hidradenitis suppurativa, with extremely widespread abscesses, nodules, and sinus tracts linking these together. Pus will be discharged from both the sinus tracts and the abscesses almost continuously, leading to the distinctive smell that is usually associated with the condition. Scarring will be severe at this stage.
Hidradenitis suppurativa sweat gland disease may begin to appear at any age, though it is most commonly seen for the first time around puberty. Women are affected more often than men, accounting for around three times as many cases, although the reasons for this are unknown. Sometimes, the condition has been known to run in families, so if you have relatives who are affected, you may also be at a higher risk of developing hidradenitis suppurativa. A number of lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing this and other conditions, so it is important that you maintain a healthy weight and give up smoking. Obesity and smoking are two of the most important risk factors. Read more…