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All About Hidradenitis Suppurativa

The medical condition Hidradenitis Suppurativa, or HS, is a skin disease that primarily affects areas of the body with hair follicles and sweat glands. Specific areas of the body that are commonly affected are the groin, buttocks, and the arm pits.  This disease is much less common in men and seems to favor women. The disease usually surfaces as a cluster of chronic skin boils, which range in size from as small as a pea, to as large as a baseball. The skin boils are extremely painful to touch and may resemble warts and this condition can also lead to cancer, in severe cases. HS is a very rare disease that impacts less than 5% of the population and it is thought that genetics might play a role in the spreading of the disease to others. 

The history of HS is not well-known, but the first individual who wrote about the disease was a French physician, who published his work between 1854 and 1865. HS unfortunately has a mysterious history because so little is actually known about the disease. The percentage of the population that has this ailment, often times has to deal with regular inflammation, pus filled boils, and pain that results from the pressure. When cuts occur or when ruptures take place, the wounds often times will not heal and infection becomes a big risk. Periods of inflammation can be attributed to stress, changes in hormones, and even friction caused by wearing clothes.  Over the course of time, scars and tunnels that connect abscesses below the surface of the skin may begin to form as well. Once a diagnosed person reaches this point, complete recovery is usually out of the question. 

HS is not spread by bacteria and it is not contagious either, so some experts think the only explainable link may be genetic. The disease is frequently misdiagnosed and many people choose not to seek medical assistance because of embarrassment. There is currently no known cure and the effectiveness of treatments varies greatly, with each individual case. A majority of treatments are centered on relieving intense pain that is as result of pressure. This can be accomplished in a traditional surgical manner or with carbon dioxide laser surgery technology. HS has 3 distinct stages which increase with severity and pain caused by the symptoms. Stage 1 of HS indicates that one or more abscesses have formed without any resulting scarring.  Stage 2 indicates a reoccurrence of abscesses, under the skin tract formation, and widely separated surface lesions. Stage 3 HS, is reached when several tracts have formed and abscesses are present everywhere. 

HS is strange and painful skin disease that affects a very small percent of the population. Currently there are several foundations and organizations that are dedicated to the ongoing research that is present, at this point in time. Unfortunately there is no known remedy for the disease and treatments are highly ineffective. In time, perhaps the medical community can shed light on this illness that has been sadly, uncontrolled to this point. 

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