Talking About Dermatology

Common Symptoms Of Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic skin condition that can be very painful. The condition is not completely understood, and it is possible for a doctor to not immediately properly diagnose the disease since it can be confused with other conditions. While hidradenitis suppurativa does not have a cure, there are treatment options to help alleviate the pain. Some of the common symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa include:

Appearance of Blackheads

Hidradenitis suppurativa has several stages; a person may eventually progress to the worst stage or stay in the beginning stages of the disease. When hidradenitis suppurativa begins to develop, you may notice pitted areas of skin with black heads. The pitted skin and black heads may be located in the under arms, groin, buttocks, or under a woman's breasts, as these areas are most commonly affected by hirdradenitis suppurativa. 

Bumps and Boils

One of the main reasons that hidradenitis suppurativa is often misdiagnosed is because it is assumed that the red, tender bumps are just boils or ingrown hairs. In most cases, the red bumps will grow in size until they open up on their own. When the lesions open, there may be blood and pus that has a distinctive foul odor. If the lesion does not open on its own, you may need to visit a doctor to have it lanced so it can drain.

While anyone can experience a boil from time to time, if you experience several boils in the same area over the course of a few months, it is in your best interest to make an appointment to see a dermatologist. 

Small, Painful Lumps

In addition to the large red, tender lesions that can be seen on the surface of the skin, hidradenitis suppurativa often also causes small, very painful lumps to form under the skin. These lumps may be small in size, often around the size of a pea, but they can cause an immense amount of pain. Unlike the lesions on the surface of the skin, these lumps typically never come to a head and are typically quite hard. They can be very slow to heal and it can take a while for the inflammation to go down.


As hidradenitis suppurativa progresses and gets worse, tunneling may occur. Tunneling is where tracks form under the skin connecting problem areas. When tunneling occurs, a person with hidradenitis suppurativa may notice an increase in flare ups and the number of lesions and lumps in an affected area. 

Contact a dermatology office for more information and assistance.