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What Are the Different Types of Hidradenitis Suppurativa Treatment?

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  • Written By: Jillian O Keeffe
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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Hidradenitis suppuritiva is a skin condition that generally begins after puberty. The disease is characterized by blockages of the oil glands and hair follicles and is considered a form of acne. Although there are many forms of hidradenitis suppurativa treatment, there is no cure for the condition.

The disease affects those areas that have lots of apocrine glands, such as the genital area and the armpits. When a gland or follicle becomes blocked, it becomes inflamed and can burst open and release pus. Scarring is possible if this cycle repeats itself in the same location.

People with mild forms of the disease may be able to control the symptoms through application of warm compresses and using antibacterial soap to wash the affected areas regularly. A doctor may also recommend a patient avoid wearing tight clothing over the area, shaving, or sweating as these factors can all aggravate the condition. Stress, heat, and excess weight can also be triggers. Poor hygiene does not cause the condition.

Early hidradenitis suppurativa treatment can reduce the risk of the disease spreading or worsening. Antibiotics are an option for the long-term control of the condition. These include erythromycin, tetracycline, and clindamycin. The antibiotic hidradenitis suppurativa treatment can either be for direct application onto the skin or can be taken orally.

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Other medications that may be successful in controlling the condition include steroids or other anti-inflammatory drugs to regulate the inflammation. Birth control pills, which alter the natural hormonal levels in the body, may be an option for women. Retinoid drugs, which suppress oil production from the glands, may be helpful. Drugs known as tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors are a newer option but carry long-term risks.

Surgery is another option for hidradenitis suppurativa treatment. The lesions on the skin contain pus and may have tunnels underneath them. Drainage of a lesion helps temporarily, but it returns after time; a permanent way to remove lesions is to surgically cut out the lesion and the tunnel underneath it. Despite physical removal, another lesion can develop in another area or even in the same area. Removing the tunnel does, however, reduce the risk of scarring.

For severe cases, a doctor may recommend removing a large area of affected skin and replacing it with a skin graft or by creating skin flaps. Even after this surgery, the lesions may develop in the new layer of skin or another part of the body. Developing treatments include radiotherapy, cryotherapy, and laser treatment.

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