Skin condition information: Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) - Toronto Dermatology Centre
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Skin condition information: Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS)


Hidradenitis suppurative (HS) is an inflammatory follicular skin disease affecting an estimated 1% of the world population. The main features of HS include: painful and chronically recurring, deep-seated follicular nodules, papules, pustules and abscesses, scarring, sinus tracts and recurrent discharge. The areas most commonly affected are under the arms, groin, buttocks, and under the breasts. The disease is variable and recurrent. It may occur as solitary or multiple lesions in one area, or in many areas. In more severe cases, there may be large areas of skin affected by recurrent, draining lesions. This process often forms open wounds that will not heal and frequently leads to significant scarring. The disease is not contagious.  The disease is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, with many patients experiencing substantial delay until a correct diagnosis is established. These issues compound the high morbidity and disabling nature of the disease.

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The exact cause of HS is unknown, but the immune system is believed to play a part.

  • imageHS begins in hair follicles in areas where there are many oil and sweat glands
  • These follicles can get clogged with bacteria and other substances
  • The immune system may overreact to clogged hair follicles, which can become inflamed. These inflamed follicles cause the painful HS breakouts you see on your skin

HUMIRA is the first & only FDA-approved treatment for moderate to severe HS.  In just 3 months, HUMIRA was proven in many patients to reduce inflammatory nodules and abscesses by at least half without developing any new draining wounds and abscesses. With HS, your body produces too much of a protein called TNF-alpha. This, along with other proteins, leads to increased inflammation. Which in turn leads to abscesses, what could be mistaken for boils or severe acne, that may appear underneath or on the surface of your skin.  HUMIRA helps by targeting and blocking TNF-alpha, a specific source of inflammation that is thought to contribute to HS symptoms.




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