WHAT IS HS?

Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a debilitating, chronic, complex inflammatory illness, also referred to as an immune-mediated inflammatory illness and follicular occlusion. It has a huge impact on quality of life physically, mentally, and emotionally. HS consists of extremely painful recurring abscesses that can develop anywhere hair follicles are found (there does not have to be hair growth). It is possible to experience abscesses or lesions anywhere on our body with the exception of the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, and the red part of your lips (see image below).

There is no cure for HS and treatment options are limited however, there are several off label treatments and many HS clinical trials underway.   Find out about what clinical trials, surveys and studies are available to part in here.

HS has never been identified or classified as an autoimmune illness; meaning, to date, there is no strong evidence of or long-standing robust research supporting HS as an autoimmune illness. The past several years of research suggest HS as a possible autoinflammatory illness with innate immune involvement, however, more research is needed to determine a definitive category.  

There are three Hurley stages used to determine severity.

HS is primarily a follicular occlusion and not a sweat gland disease.  Read more about this and why this distinction is important here.

HS may come with other symptoms such as fatigue, low grade fever, and overall malaise, especially during a flare. 

HS is NONE of the following:

  • STD

  • Contagious

  • Rare

  • HS does not discriminate against race, gender, age, sexual orientation, geographic location or blood type. 

It is common to have other follicular skin conditions, immune mediated inflammatory illnesses and inflammatory illnesses with HS. It is also common to have autoimmune illness(es) along with HS. Research can be viewed here.

HS Location chart.jpg