Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), also known as acne inversa, causes painful bumps (also known as “boils”) underneath the skin. The bumps can first resemble pimples but are usually larger and appear most commonly in the underarms, groin and buttock areas, though they can be found elsewhere as well. These bumps are often painful. In addition, they can form pus filled pockets underneath the skin (also known as “abscesses”). These pockets or tunnels (also known as “fistulas”) break from time to time and let out pus, giving off an unpleasant smell. HS is believed to be caused by inflammation and blockages in the hair roots.
HS is found more commonly in females, those who are overweight, and those who smoke, though HS can still occur in males, non-smokers, and those with normal weight. HS most often begins to show signs after puberty or in a person’s twenties.
The recurrent bumps from HS can cause extreme pain and discomfort. The impact that HS has on quality of life sometimes leads to insecurity, social seclusion, anxiety, and depression.