Category: Hidradenitis Suppurativa

October 30, 2020
Woman thinking with hand under chin, HS, clinical research

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a skin condition that causes painful lumps to form under the skin. HS can persist for years, often worsening over time, and can profoundly impact a person emotionally and physically. Hidradenitis suppurativa is not contagious or a result of poor hygiene. There is still a lot to learn about it, but clinical research studies are helping to improve the lives of those affected.

What HS Looks Like

Woman laying on couch, HS, clinical research

The lumps that form under the skin mainly affect where the skin folds or rubs together like the armpits, groin, buttocks, and breasts. The condition typically starts after puberty and can begin in a single area or multiple ones. Symptoms include:

  • Small pitted areas containing blackheads, often appearing in pairs.
  • Painful small bumps that persist for weeks or months. These appear in areas where there are many sweat and oil glands or where skin rubs together.
  • Tunnels connecting the lumps may form over time. These are slow to heal and may never fully repair themselves. They can also leak pus, which can have an odor.

What Causes HS?

HS, woman pointing at under arm

Hidradenitis suppurativa develops when the hair follicles in the skin become blocked. What causes the follicle to become blocked remains a mystery, but experts believe family history, hormones, and immune system issues play a role in its development. HS is most common in women between the ages of 18 and 29. Other risk factors are family history, smoking, and obesity.

How HS is Treated

The symptoms of HS can appear as other skin conditions, so seeing a dermatologist who is trained to know the differences is a no-brainer. There is no cure for HS, but treating it can reduce pain and flare-ups and heal the wounds. Wound care, self-care, pain control, addressing any infection, medication, and in-office procedures are all methods of how HS is treated. In 2015, the first treatment specific to HS was approved by the FDA thanks to clinical research studies and their volunteers’ work. Humira noticeably reduces the number of lumps for those with moderate to severe HS symptoms. Though this is great news, more options are necessary to meet the individual needs of everyone suffering from this disease.

HS genetic, clinical research, pink and white woman icon

As a research study volunteer, you play a role in bettering the healthcare for those with chronic conditions like HS. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with hidradenitis suppurativa, clinical research studies here at ActivMed may be an option. To learn more about the HS studies enrolling at our Portsmouth, NH location, click here. For the HS studies at our Beverly, MA location, click here.

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hidradenitis-suppurativa/symptoms-causes/syc-20352306

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/hidradenitis-suppurativa-treatment

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