Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a chronic suppurative, a disease of the apocrine gland-bearing skin areas, mainly the axillae (underarm) and anogenital area. It is a disease that occurs in both males and females, normally during puberty, but can also surface during or after pregnancy, or during menopause (for women). There is no known cause, and there is no known cure.

Another name for this disease is Verneuil's Disease. The earliest signs are of a tender, inflammatory, abscess like swelling in the affected area. In women, they are commonly affected in axillary form, while men are more prone to perianal form. There are, of course, exceptions. Many sufferers of this disease have a history of recurrent folliculitis, irritation from antiperspirant or trama caused by shaving or wearing tight clothing. While many sufferers also have a history of obesity and/or acne, it is not directly associated with the disease.

Within hours or days, the abscess grows in size, causing immense pain, and if left untreated, it will eventually drain, perforating the overlying skin. New lesions in the area may develop in weeks to months following the initial attack. Eventually, sinus tracts are formed as the disease becomes more chronic.

This disease is often considered a disability, not allowing the sufferer to perform normal tasks, either because of the pain or the medication and painkillers involved in treating it. While there is no cure, there are ways to prevent attacks from surfacing. One known fact is that it is directly related to stress - leading a less stressful life could help control this disease. Other ways of preventing it to act up are wearing loose, all cotton clothing, using sensitive skin laundry detergent, sensitive skin soaps and cleaners (Neutrogena, Ivory), and keeping good hygiene.

Despite this, many sufferers are prone to depression, forced to live with the shame of abscesses on their skin, living lives closed off from the world. People do NOT get this disease by having poor hygiene, although it can be a factor. Many normal, healthy people are faced with this, and in some studies it's shown more than 1% of the population lives with this disease. Most sufferers are far too embarrassed or shamed to be treated, though, and this is also a commonly misdiagnosed disease.

For more information on Hidradenitis Suppurative, or if you think you may be suffering from it, there is a website called H.I.D.E (Hidradenitis Information Development and Exchange) - http://members.nbci.com/capiii/indexfyi.htm

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