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10 Facts You Should Know About HS

When it comes to hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), it’s important to separate the facts from fiction. Find out more here.

1. For starters, HS, or hidradenitis suppurativa, is a chronic inflammatory condition.

You may also hear it referred to as acne inversa, but it's important to note that it is NOT a form of acne. While the exact cause of HS is unknown, the immune system is believed to play a role — starting beneath the skin’s surface.

2. HS can affect everyone differently, but it’s usually found in the underarms, groin, and areas where skin rubs together.

It can also show up on the back of the neck, inner thighs, buttocks, and underneath the breasts.

3. It's important that you talk to your doctor about your symptoms as soon as possible.

Over time, HS can progress from small, boil-like bumps to painful abscesses that can grow and may burst or rupture. As HS becomes more severe, it can also cause tracts, tunneling, and scarring. So talking to a doctor early on is key.

4. People all over the world are living with HS.

Some groups, however, are more affected than others. HS usually begins in adolescence, and rarely past age 55. It also occurs more often in women than in men.

5. Family history could also play a part.

While it's unclear what causes HS, one-third of those affected by it report a family history of the condition.

6. Unfortunately, HS can go undiagnosed for years.

Because it can resemble other skin conditions such as acne, boils, folliculitis, and more, many suffering with HS do not get the timely diagnosis they need.

7. Which is why it's super important to see a dermatologist.

It’s also important because receiving an appropriate diagnosis can help you and your dermatologist determine your treatment options.

8. HS can affect more than your skin.

Between unpredictable flares and recurring symptoms, HS can take not just a physical toll, but an emotional one as well.

9. And it can also have an impact on relationships.

Uncomfortable symptoms in sensitive areas can lead to some tough conversations — including around intimacy. But the more people know about the condition, the better they can help support you along the way. Know that HS is nothing to be ashamed of. And it is not your fault.

10. Remember, you're not alone, and there are resources for you.

Images from Getty/iStock

Dealing with the myths, misinformation, and blame that comes with HS is hard enough—that’s why finding a dermatologist is super important. In the meantime, you may get answers to your questions, and be in the know about information such as treatment options, helpful tools, and tips for dealing with HS.

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