Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Help is available for those with this little-known disease

July 19, 2021

By: Steven Daveluy, M.D.

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a disease that causes boils, swelling, pain and drainage in the armpits, groin, buttocks, under the breasts and sometimes other areas of the skin. The boils come and go, and the disease is often not recognized by health care providers. In fact, on average, it takes 7-10 years of seeing doctors before a person with HS gets the right diagnosis.

If you have boils that come and go in your armpits, groin, buttocks or under the breasts, you may have HS. Without treatment, HS damages tissue and causes other problems, so early diagnosis and treatment is really important.

Wayne Health dermatologists offer a wide range of services and treatments for HS. These include medications that go on the skin (topicals) and oral medications and biologics, which are injectable medications that reduce overactivity of the immune system. There are also surgical procedures for HS performed in an office, including laser hair removal, medication injection, deroofing and CO2 laser surgery. Complementary approaches to improving health, such as nutrition, wellness, acupuncture for pain, vitamins and supplements and lifestyle modifications, can also help relieve HS symptoms.

Wayne Health researchers are very active and coming out with loads of new information and innovations for HS. This includes research of three potential oral medications for HS, acupuncture for the pain caused by HS, laser hair removal to treat HS, and information to help more doctors become experts in treating HS.

The support and enthusiasm of HS patients in the community is critical to the success of this research. Thanks to their willing participation in research trials, there are many new medications on the horizon, which should become available to all HS patients soon. We are learning more about the disease and how we can find the right treatment for each patient.

HS is a very challenging disorder that causes a lot of emotional and physical stress. Finding the right treatment is really challenging. The first step is finding a knowledgeable doctor to walk with you on the journey.

If you think you may have HS, make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist. Wayne Health’s board-certified dermatologists and skin specialists offer surgical and nonsurgical skin treatments to fit personalized needs with a full range of services for skin, hair or nail disorders. To find a Wayne Health dermatologist, go to www.waynehealthcares.org or call 877-929-6342.

If you know that you have HS, the HS Foundation website (www.hs-foundation.org) has a ton of useful information. Remember, if you have HS, you’re not alone! Get involved with a patient support organization, such as Hope for HS. Connecting with other people affected by HS is one of the most powerful treatments.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Help is available for those with this little-known disease
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