The human body is a magnificent machine, but like other machines, it can fall into disrepair. Some medical problems are easy to diagnose and solve, but others are more complicated. Armpit boils – a common symptom of the condition called hidradenitis suppurativa (HD) – is an example of a tricky condition. While its causes are not well understood, steps can be taken to treat the problem.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa Defined
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HD) is a skin condition that can affect many different portions of the skin. Armpit boils are the most frequently seen issue with the condition, but similar lesions can appear in the groin, around the genitals, and under the breasts. HD is possible wherever the body has apocrine sweat glands.
The condition is caused by a blockage of sweat glands and hair follicles. When sweat is forced into the skin instead of escaping normally, it can take bacteria down into the deeper tissues with it. This blockage becomes a noticeable boil or nodule which can range from pinhead to pea size. These may be itchy and uncomfortable Nodules will either disappear over time or develop into draining abscesses; if the latter occurs the condition becomes extremely painful.
The factors that contribute to HD are not well understood. There may be a genetic component, as the condition runs in families and affects certain races (caucasian and African) more than others. HD is not caused by poor personal hygiene, although it can complicate existing cases. Certain lifestyle factors (see below) tend to be associated with more severe cases.
When presented with HD, doctors need to perform tests to rule out other conditions which can cause similar boils. Examples include diabetes and Crohn’s disease. Treatment of mild HD outbreaks is broadly similar to treating acne. The same topical treatments, such as those containing benzoyl peroxide and antibacterial ingredients, can be effective.
More extreme cases may be treated with oral antibiotics if a physician determines that bacterial infection is a significant factor. Dermatologists may prescribe retinoids to reduce sebum output and make gland blockage less frequent. Steroids are used in advanced cases to reduce inflammation and swelling. In the most extreme cases, large boils which have developed sinuses beneath the skin may be removed surgically.
Taking Steps To Prevent HD
Avoiding some of the common contributing factors can help keep HD under control. Quitting smoking and losing weight are common recommendations from doctors. If you’ve noticed boils in the affected areas, you should wash them regularly using a mild antiseptic soap. Avoid tight clothes which bind the affected areas, and discontinue the use of perfumed skin care products (deodorants in particular) on the affected skin. Do not shave areas that are experiencing HD outbreaks or have done so in the past.
HD, the underlying condition which brings out boils in the armpit and other intimate regions, is a very irritating problem that can pose a serious danger if left untreated. People are often reluctant to discuss skin problems like these with their doctors due to embarrassment. This is an unfortunate mistake that can make the condition much harder to deal with. Prompt recognition of the problem and treatment are vital to minimizing the impact HD has.
Angela Dorris is a professional in the beauty industry and the owner and manufacturer of Enji Happy Care and Enji Prime, an effective callus removal systems for your feet. Learn more about these amazing products and discover effective tips for obtaining beautiful feet by visiting Enji-Prime.com.