II. Epidemiology

  1. Prevalence: 0.1% (U.S. 2017, increasing)
  2. More common in women by a factor of 4:1
  3. Onset age 18 to 40 years

III. Pathophysiology

  1. Inflammation of the Apocrine Sweat Glands
  2. Effects intertriginous folds with Sweat Glands and Terminal Hairs (e.g. axilla)
  3. Inflammatory cytokines and chemokines promote hyperkeratosis, follicular Occlusion and cyst formation
    1. Pilosebaceous Unit ruptures with further inflammation and secondary abscess and sinus tract formation
    2. Results in regional scarring, contractures and persistent sinus tracts

IV. Risk Factors

  1. Obesity
  2. Female Gender
  3. Black race (3 fold higher than caucasian)
  4. Tobacco Abuse (two fold increased risk of hidradenitis)
  5. Genetic predisposition to Acne Vulgaris
  6. Family History of Hidradenitis Suppurativa
  7. Apocrine duct obstruction
  8. Secondary Bacterial Infection
  9. Symptomatic flares often occur during Menses

V. Symptoms

  1. Pain, itching, burning and erythema in area involved

VI. Signs

  1. Characteristic
    1. Early
      1. Mild inflammatory Nodules (0.5 to 2 cm) or abscess
        1. Deep, painful and may persist for months
    2. Later
      1. Multiple abscess (sterile in most cases) with foul-smelling drainage
      2. Multi-headed comedones (double tombstones)
      3. Sinus tract formation
      4. Fibrosis
      5. Bridge scarring
      6. Hypertrophic Scar or Keloid
      7. Contractures
  2. Distribution (typically bilateral)
    1. Axilla (most common overall, and more common in women)
    2. Anogenital area (more common in men)
      1. Gluteal folds, perianal area and perineum
      2. Foreskin and Scrotum in men
      3. Pubis and labia in women
    3. Breasts (areola and inframmary regions)
    4. Extension onto back and buttocks

VII. Labs

  1. Not typically indicated for hidradenitis diagnosis
    1. Bacterial cultures are rarely indicated
    2. Skin biopsy may be indicated to differentiate from other conditions in region (e.g. perianal Crohn Disease)
  2. Consider additional lab testing for those with findings suspicious for underlying condition
    1. Diabetes Mellitus
    2. Thyroiditis
    3. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

VIII. Differential Diagnosis

  1. Early
    1. Furuncle or Carbuncle (Bacterial abscess)
    2. Lymphadenitis
    3. Ruptured Trichilemmal Cyst
    4. Cat Scratch Disease
    5. Tularemia
    6. Acne Conglobata (severe nodular acne in men on back, chest, face)
    7. Pilonidal Cyst (gluteal fold)
  2. Late
    1. Lymphogranuloma venereum
    2. Granuloma Inguinale (Donovanosis)
    3. Tuberculosis (Scrofuloderma)
    4. Actinomycosis
    5. Crohn's Disease fistulae
    6. Ulcerative Colitis fistulae

IX. Classification: Hurley System

  1. Stage 1
    1. Single or multiple abscesses
    2. NO sinus tracts or scarring
  2. Stage 2
    1. Abscess recurrence
    2. Sinus tracts and scarring
    3. Lesions are widely separated
  3. Stage 3
    1. Diffuse skin involvement
    2. Multiple sinus tracts
    3. Widespread abscess formation

XI. Precautions

  1. Hidradenitis is clinical diagnosis based on simple observation, but its diagnosis is typically delayed by 7 years
  2. Delayed diagnosis results in increased scarring, sinus tracts and more refractory course
  3. Hidradenitis results in pain, foul odor and scars
    1. Associated with decreased self esteem, Mood Disorders (including Suicidality), and decreased quality of life

XII. Management: General Measures

  1. Avoid exposure to heat and humidity
  2. Avoid shaving if it causes irritation
  3. Avoid synthetic tight fitting clothes
    1. Wear loose fitting clothing to prevent skin friction
  4. Antibacterial soaps or chlorhexidine (hibiclens) washes
    1. Evidence is lacking
  5. Weight loss
    1. Weight loss of 15% if Overweight
  6. Tobacco Cessation
    1. Tobacco use is associated with a 2 fold increased risk of hidradenitis, and more treatment refractory course
  7. Apply warm compresses to affected area

XIII. Management: Mild (Single Nodules with minimal pain) - Hurley Stage 1

  1. General measures as above
  2. First-line Options
    1. Clindamycin Topically (Cleocin-T)
    2. May also consider Topical Resorcinol 15%
  3. Second-line Options for refractory lesions
    1. Consider Intralesional triamcinolone
    2. Consider small Nodule punch debridement or abscess drainage

XIV. Management: Moderate (Recurrent Nodules, pain, abscesses) - Hurley Stage 2

  1. General measures as above
  2. Continue topical Clindamycin
  3. Initial antibiotic course is typically for 12 weeks
  4. First-Line: Tetracyclines (not in children <8 years or pregnancy)
    1. Tetracycline 500 mg twice daily OR
    2. Doxycycline 100 mg orally twice daily
  5. Second-Line
    1. Dermatology Referral
    2. Adalimumab (Humira) weekly
  6. Third-Line
    1. Clindamycin 300 mg twice daily AND Rifampin 300 mg twice daily OR
    2. Acitretin (Soriatane) OR
    3. Consider surgical Consultation for larger lesion and sinus tract excision
  7. Other measures
    1. Antiandrogens in women with cyclical flares
      1. Spironolactone 25-75 mg daily

XV. Management: Late (abscesses, sinuses, scarring) - Hurley Stage 3

  1. General measures as above
  2. Continue topical Clindamycin
  3. Referral to Dermatology
  4. First-Line
    1. Adalimumab (Humira)
  5. Third-Line
    1. Infliximab (Remicade) OR
    2. Anakinra (Kineret) SC daily OR
    3. Clindamycin 300 mg twice daily AND Rifampin 300 mg twice daily OR
    4. Consider referral for wide, extensive surgical excision of lesions and scarring

XVI. Management: Surgical Measures

  1. Mini-Unroofing (Punch debridement)
    1. Indicated for small, inflamed Nodules and abscesses
    2. Use a 5-6 mm Punch Biopsy at center of lesion
      1. Follow with manual expression of contents
      2. Allow to heal by secondary intention
  2. Unroofing
    1. Indicated in chronic abscesses, Nodules and sinus tracts
    2. Surface of lesions is removed with scissors, cautery, carbon dioxide laser
      1. Underlying lesion contents are curetted
      2. Allow to heal by secondary intention
  3. Nd:YAG Laser
    1. Indicated in chronic abscesses, Nodules and sinus tracts
    2. Superficial Hair Follicles are destroyed
  4. Electrosurgical Peeling
    1. Indicated in chronic abscesses, Nodules and sinus tracts
    2. Involved skin is removed in consecutive layers, preserving normal skin
      1. Allow to heal by secondary intention
  5. Wide Excision
    1. Indicated in extensive disease with scarring
    2. Wide excision of involved tissue including Nodules, abscesses, scar, sinus tracts

XVII. Management: Other options that have been used historically in Hidradenitis

  1. Oral Contraceptives (high Estrogen, low androgen)
    1. See Androgenic Activity
  2. Accutane 0.5 to 1 mg/kg PO daily
    1. Used before surgery
  3. Corticosteroids (variable efficacy)
    1. Prednisone 70 mg tapered over 14 days
    2. Intralesional triamcinolone
  4. Cryotherapy
  5. Augmentin has previously been used for anogenital hidradenitis

XVIII. Complications

  1. Rectal or Urethral fistulas
  2. Secondary infection
  3. Lymphedema
  4. Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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Related Studies

Ontology: Hidradenitis (C0085160)

Definition (CHV) inflammation of sweat glands
Definition (CHV) inflammation of sweat glands
Definition (CHV) inflammation of sweat glands
Definition (NCI) Inflammation of the apocrine sweat glands, characterized by redness, itching, pain or swelling of the sweat glands, usually in the axillae or groin.(NICHD)
Definition (MSH) The inflammation of a sweat gland (usually of the apocrine type). The condition can be idiopathic or occur as a result of or in association with another underlying condition. Neutrophilic eccrine hidradenitis is a relatively rare variant that has been reported in patients undergoing chemotherapy, usually for non-Hodgkin lymphomas or leukemic conditions.
Concepts Disease or Syndrome (T047)
MSH D016575
ICD9 705.83
SnomedCT 267814008, 267866004, 156417004, 201204008, 69741000
English Hidradenitis, Hidrosadenitis, Hydradenitis, Hidradenitides, Hidrosadenitides, Hydradenitides, Sweat gland inflammation, Hidradenitis [Disease/Finding], hidradenitis, Hidradenitis (disorder), hydradenitis, hidrosadenitis
Dutch zweetklierontsteking, hidradenitis, Hidradenitis
French Inflammation des glandes sudoripares, Hidrosadénite, Hidradénite
German Schweissdruesenentzuendung, Hidradenitis, Hidrosadenitis, Schweißdrüsenentzündung
Italian Infiamazione di ghiandola sudoripara, Idradenite, Idrosadenite, Idroadenite
Portuguese Inflamação das glândulas sudoríparas, Hidrosadenite, Hidradenite
Spanish Inflamación de las glándulas sudoríparas, golondrino, hidradenitis, hidrosadenitis (trastorno), hidrosadenitis, Hidradenitis, Hidrosadenitis
Japanese 汗腺の炎症, カンセンエン, カンセンノエンショウ, 好中球性エクリン汗腺炎, エクリン汗腺炎-好中球性, 汗腺炎
Swedish Svettkörtelinflammation
Czech zánět potních žláz, hidradenitida, Hidradenitida, Zánět potní žlázy
Finnish Hikirauhastulehdus
Russian GIDRADENIT, GIDROADENIT, ГИДРАДЕНИТ, ГИДРОАДЕНИТ
Polish Zapalenie gruczołów potowych zewnątrzwydzielnicze obojętnochłonne, Zapalenie gruczołów potowych neutrofilowe ekrynowe, Zapalenie gruczołów potowych
Hungarian Hidradenitis, Verejték mirigy gyulladás
Norwegian Svettekjertelbetennelse, Hidrosadenitt

Ontology: Hidradenitis Suppurativa (C0162836)

Definition (MSH) A chronic suppurative and cicatricial disease of the apocrine glands occurring chiefly in the axillae in women and in the groin and anal regions in men. It is characterized by poral occlusion with secondary bacterial infection, evolving into abscesses which eventually rupture. As the disease becomes chronic, ulcers appear, sinus tracts enlarge, fistulas develop, and fibrosis and scarring become evident.
Definition (MEDLINEPLUS)

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic disease of a type of sweat gland. It can occur in one or multiple areas of your body. HS usually develops in your armpits, groin, and anal area. It causes long-term skin inflammation and can be painful.

Symptoms include

  • Blackheads and red, tender bumps, called abscesses. The abscesses get bigger, break open, and leak pus
  • Tunnels that form under the skin between abscesses
  • Scarring

No one knows what causes HS. It is more common in women, African Americans, and people who have had acne. It usually starts after the teenage years. Treatments include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medicines, and sometimes surgery. Losing weight and wearing loose clothing can help, too.

Concepts Disease or Syndrome (T047)
MSH D017497
ICD10 L73.2
SnomedCT 201204008, 156417004, 267866004, 59393003
English Suppurative Hidradenitis, hidradenitis suppurativa, hidradenitis suppurativa (diagnosis), Hidradenitis Suppurativa, Acne Inversa, Inversa, Acne, Inversas, Acne, Acne Inversas, Hidradenitis Suppurativa [Disease/Finding], axillary hidradenitis, verneuil's disease, axillaries hidradenitis, hidradenitis suppurative, suppurative hidradenitis, suppurativa hidradenitis, apocrine acne, Acne inverse, Suppurative Hidradenitides, Hidradenitis, Suppurative, Hidradenitides, Suppurative, Apocrine acne, Hidradenitis suppurativa, Hidradenitis axillaris, Suppurative hidradenitis, Verneuil's disease, Hidradenitis suppurativa (disorder)
Swedish Svettkörtelinflammation, varig
Czech hidradenitis suppurativa, potní žlázy - zánět hnisavý, Hidradenitis suppurativa
Finnish Märkivä hikirauhastulehdus
Russian GIDRADENIT GNOINYI, ГИДРАДЕНИТ ГНОЙНЫЙ
Korean 화농성 땀샘염
Portuguese Acne Inversa, Hidradenite purulenta, Hidradenite Supurativa
Spanish Acné Inversa, Hidradenitis supurativa, Acné Inverso, acné apocrina, enfermedad de Verneuil, hidradenitis axilar, hidradenitis supurativa, hidrosadenitis axilar, hidrosadenitis supurativa (trastorno), hidrosadenitis supurativa, Hidradenitis Supurativa
Dutch hidradenitis suppurativa, Hidradenitis suppurativa
Italian Idrosadenite suppurativa, Idroadenite suppurativa
Japanese カノウセイカンセンエン, 化膿性汗腺炎, 汗腺炎-化膿性
Polish Zapalenie gruczołów potowych ropne
Hungarian Hidradenitis suppurativa
French Hidradenitis Suppurativa, Maladie de Verneuil, Hidradénite suppurée, Hidrosadénite suppurée, Idrosadénite suppurée
German Hidradenitis suppurativa, Schweißdrüsenentzündung, eitrige

Ontology: Axillary hidradenitis suppurativa (C1274266)

Concepts Disease or Syndrome (T047)
SnomedCT 402826001
English axillary hidradenitis suppurativa, Axillary hidradenitis suppurativa (disorder), Axillary hidradenitis suppurativa
Spanish hidradenitis axilar supurativa (trastorno), hidradenitis axilar supurativa

Ontology: Anogenital hidradenitis suppurativa (C1274267)

Concepts Disease or Syndrome (T047)
SnomedCT 402827005
English Anogenital hidradenitis suppurativa (disorder), Anogenital hidradenitis suppurativa
Spanish hidradenitis anogenital supurativa (trastorno), hidradenitis anogenital supurativa