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Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a debilitating, chronic, complex inflammatory illness; the reason HS occurs is still being studied.


HS presents with extremely painful recurring boil-like abscesses that may start out as pustules (small, pus filled bumps/sores) that can develop anywhere hair follicles are found.  It is possible to experience abscesses or lesions anywhere on our body with the exception of the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, and red part of the lips. HS has a huge impact on the quality of life physically, mentally, socially, emotionally and financially.

HS does not discriminate against age, race, sexual orientation, beliefs, intellectual/ developmental or physical disabilities, blood type, size, shape, or geographic location. 

HS is not contagious. There are three Hurley stages used to determine severity. There is no cure for HS and treatments aim to control disease severity and help reduce symptoms. Learn more here.

HS is primarily a follicular occlusion and not a sweat gland disease.  Read more about this and why this distinction is important here.

HS may come with other symptoms such as fatigue, low grade fever, and overall malaise, especially during a flare. 

HS is NONE of the following:

  • STD

  • Contagious

  • Rare

  • HS does not discriminate against race, gender, age, sexual orientation, geographic location or blood type. 

It is common to have other follicular skin conditions, immune mediated inflammatory illnesses and inflammatory illnesses with HS. It is not uncommon to have autoimmune illness(es) along with HS. Research can be viewed here.

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What is Hidradenitis Suppurativa / HS?

What can trigger your HS?

What causes HS?

It's still unknown entirely what causes HS. The best way we've heard it explained is that in acne the pore explodes and the contaminants come out, with HS they don't explode and remain internally where your innate immune system starts a small war trying to get rid of the contaminants causing the inflammation, redness and swelling.  This does not mean that HS is an infection or that our abscesses are infected.  The reason for the follicular occlusion is still unknown. Read more about follicular occlusions here.

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HS is a very personal disease and what is a trigger for one may not be for another.  Some common triggers discussed in the community can include the below.  Read more about triggers here.

  • Clothing (fabric choice, fit, etc.)

  • Food/Nutrition

  • Exercise

  • Weather (humidity, heat, etc.)

  • Food/Nutrition

  • Friction

Treatment Options

Just as HS is a personal disease as far as triggers go, it's equally as personal a disease when it comes to treatments.  There is currently only 1 FDA approved treatment for HS, however, there are many off-label treatment options available for use. The future of HS treatments is exciting, the pipeline is full and robust; there is potential of another 1-2 drugs being approved for HS during the next year or two with many more to follow. Read more here.

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