What are the signs and symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa?

If you develop hidradenitis suppurativa, you're likely to experience the following symptoms, which tend to occur one after the other:

  • Lumps and lesions. The first sign of hidradenitis suppurativa is typically a painful lump under the skin, often on a part of your body that experiences friction, such as the armpits or groin. The lump can last for weeks to months before it breaks open into an abscess that drains pus. Another lump can then grow in the same place or in the general area.
  • Tunnels. If you've had hidradenitis suppurativa for months or years, you likely have multiple deep-seated lumps. Over time, tunnels or tracts connecting these lumps will form under the skin. These tunnels can leak pus spontaneously from time to time.
  • Blackheads. Small black bumps might appear on your skin in the later stages of the condition. These bumps are called double-headed blackheads because they often show up in pairs.
  • Scars. After a lump or lesion regresses and heals, thick, bandlike scars might form on your skin. It's also possible for "ice pick (pitted) scars" — similar to scars associated with severe or cystic acne — to appear.

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic condition. It's possible your symptoms might spontaneously go away for periods of time and then returnover the course of decades.

Dec. 29, 2018 See more Expert Answers

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