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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is hidradenitis suppurativa?

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  • 2

    Thanks

    Mr Stephen Salerno

    Plastic Surgeon (Reconstructive & Cosmetic)

    Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery Hand Surgery Skin cancer and melanoma surgery Breast Surgery View Profile

    Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a condition where the the sweat glands and sebaceous glands of the body namely the groin areas and underarms become chronically infected.  It is a non contagious condition and can be quite uncomfortable and painful.  It unknow exactly what cuases the condition and affects both males and females.  there are various treatments, hoever for sever conditions it normally requires surgery to excise the glands and the closing wounds or skin grafting the areas.

    Stephen Salerno

  • Dr John Frew

    Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)

    Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is also known as Acne Inversa. It is an inflammatory condition of the hair follicles with a predilection for apocrine-gland bearing skin.

    These areas are predominately the armpits, groin, buttocks, genitalia and perineum as well as underneath and between the breasts in women.

    it is estimated to affect up to 1% of the global population with women more commonly affected than men- however in Asian populations- this trend may be reversed.

    The typical age of onset is in the teenage years- early 20's, although there is a second spike in onset in late 30's/early 40s.

    it is associated with smoking, diabetes, increased BMI, hormonal abnormalities (such as PCOS) and a small minority of patients have a family history of the disease.

    The cause is incredibly complex- but it is NOT an infectious disorder. It is a chronic inflammatory disorder. 

    Treatment can involve medication (antibiotics, steroid injections, anti- inflammatory therapies including biologic therapies) as well as lifestyle changes (weight loss, smoking cessation) and surgery. 

    no single therapy is effective for everyone and often combined therapies are needed in severe disease.

    If you think you may have HS- it is important to see a dermatologist or someone who specializes in the disease- as early treatment is much more effective than treatment in later stages. 

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