Hidradenitis Suppurativa

(Acne Conglobata; Acne Inversa [AI]; Apocrine Acne; Apocrinitis; Fox-Den Disease; HS; Hydradenitis Suppurativa; Pyodermia Significa Fistulans; Velpeau's Disease; Verneuil's Disease)

How to Say It: HID-ra-den-EYE-tis SUP-you-rah-TEE-vah


Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a disease that results in deep and painful lumps under the skin, often in the armpits or groin. They may also be found under the breasts and between the buttocks.

Skin, Hair, Hair Follicle

Nuclus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


HS happens when hair follicles become blocked. It is not known why this happens.

Genes, the environment, and problems with the immune system may also play a role.

Risk Factors

HS is more common in women. Other things that may raise the risk are:


The problem often starts when a person is in their 20s. Problems may be:

  • Burning, itching, or painful lumps in the armpits, groin, under the breasts, or between the buttocks
  • Pus leaking from breaks in the lumps
  • Scarring


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on your skin. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.


The goal of care is to control outbreaks. Options are:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and wearing loose clothing
  • Medicines, such as:
    • Antibiotics
    • Corticosteroids
    • Biologic agents
    • Retinoids
    • Hormonal therapy

People with severe symptoms may need a surgery or procedure to remove the painful lumps.


There are no known guidelines to prevent this problem.


American Academy of Dermatology
Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation


Canadian Dermatology Association


Hidradenitis suppurativa. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hidradenitis-suppurativa. Accessed October 23, 2020.
Hidradenitis suppurativa. NORD—National Organization of Rare Diseases website. Available at: https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/hidradenitis-suppurativa. Accessed October 23, 2020.
Zouboulis CC, Desai N, et al. European S1 guideline for the treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa/acne inversa. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2015 Apr;29(4):619-644.
11/30/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hidradenitis-suppurativa: Tzellos T, Zouboulis CC, et al. Cardiovascular disease risk factors in patients with hidradenitis suppurativa: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Br J Dermatol 2015;173(5):1142-1155.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.