Hidradenitis suppurativa, also known as HS, is a long-term or chronic skin condition that can be distinguished by painful, inflamed areas typically located around the armpits, groin and in between the buttocks. The inflamed pustules, nodules and spots usually occur where certain sweat glands (known as apocrine glands) are located, as well as under the breasts and on the inner thighs, where skin may rub together.
The exact cause of HS is unkown.
The condition involves the plugging or blocking of hair follicles where apocrine sweat glands are present.
Studies have reported a global prevalence of 1%-4% in the general population.
However, as it is easy to misdiagnose and because people living with HS often feel too embarrassed to talk about their symptoms or to seek medical help from their GP, the number of people who are actually diagnosed with HS is far less than this estimate.
While not all cases of HS get worse over time, some cases of HS can continue to reappear and become more severe if not properly managed. As a result, diagnosing and properly managing HS as early as possible is important3,5 The first step for people living with HS is to speak to their GP to help ensure an accurate diagnosis. Many GPs take a special interest in dermatology.