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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Is HS contagious?     Answer:     Hidradenitis suppurativa is a condition in which prominent pus drainage is noted. For many years, this has led to the misconception that infectious organisms were involved.   However, since cultures are routinely negative, it is now recognized that this process represents an inflammatory disease involving follicular structures.  Since bacteria are not involved in the primary process, it is therefore not infectious, and not contagious.

 

Is HS hereditary?     Answer:     It may be.  A family history of boils or hidradenitis is seen in approximately 30% of individuals.

 

Is HS caused by poor hygiene?     Answer:     No. Although the condition is usually seen in warm, moist areas of the body, local skin care does not seem to affect the process. Although the condition may be more often seen in heavy individuals, factors other than skin care are more important.

 

Is the condition caused by anything I do?     Answer:     Generally no. Factors which may be important in some individuals include smoking, possible diets high in dairy products, and obesity.  However, avoiding any of these circumstances has not been consistent in controlling or reversing the process. Generally the condition continues in spite of a patient modifying their lifestyle.

 

Can HS be prevented?     Answer:     No.

 

What are my options?     Answer:     Treatments for HS must be individualized for each patient.   Medical (medicine) therapy may be greatly helpful for many patients.   For patients with sinus tracts/tunnels, laser or other surgery to remove the tunnels may be very successful.

 

Will HS ever go away?     Answer:     HS often improves with menopause.   However this is unpredictable.   In general, it is a persistent condition, often for many years.    Specific areas, after treatment, may remain clear.