Hidradenitis suppurativa: a common and burdensome, yet under-recognised, inflammatory skin disease

Deirdre Nathalie Dufour, Lennart Emtestam, Gregor B Jemec
Postgraduate Medical Journal 2014, 90 (1062): 216-21; quiz 220
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic, relapsing, inflammatory skin condition that typically occurs after puberty. The primary clinical presentation is painful inflamed nodules or boils in the apocrine gland-bearing regions (armpits, genital area, groin, breasts and buttocks/anus) that progress to abscesses, sinus tracts and scarring. Severity is typically described according to three Hurley categories, with most patients having mild or moderate disease. Estimated prevalence is 1-4% worldwide and HS is three times more common in women than men. Patients' disease burden includes intense pain, work disability and overall poor quality of life. Although the clinical signs of the disease can often be hidden by clothing, active HS is associated with a malodorous discharge that contributes to the disabling social stigma. Risk factors include smoking and obesity. Comorbidities include inflammatory bowel disease and spondyloarthropathies. The presentation of the disease is distinct, yet HS is not well-recognised except in dermatology clinics.

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