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Doctors and patients frequently overlook hidradenitis suppurativa, but the sooner this painful skin illness is identified, the sooner you can be free of it.

The primary goal of any chronic health problem is to have it diagnosed and treated as soon as possible in order to prevent it from worsening or causing permanent damage. It makes sense, yet it rarely occurs in the case of the severe, little-known skin illness hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). Frustrating fact: It frequently takes several trips to the doctor merely to acquire a precise diagnosis. According to an international survey published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD) in July 2019, 64% of patients saw five or more physicians before receiving a definitive diagnosis of HS. What is the average time between diagnosis and treatment? It’s been ten years.

Why is HS so often overlooked for an illness that causes so much pain as well as feelings of embarrassment and isolation?

The simplest explanation is that the lumps that appear, particularly in locations where skin rubs together, such as the armpits and groin, may appear to be something else. “There is still a lack of understanding of what HS is. “It’s frequently misdiagnosed as a simple boil or abscess,” says Dr Adil.

So, what exactly is HS? it is a persistent, painful, non-contagious skin disease with a few distinguishing features:

  • Recurrence – Boils that occur repeatedly. They usually start as a single lesion, commonly caused by a clogged hair follicle and/or an irritated sweat gland, and progress to a hard lump filled with pus. According to the National Organisation for Rare Disorders, they can spread and form tunnels under the skin, leaving sufferers with painful clusters that leak fluid. (Important note: HS is not uncommon! It affects one out of every 100 persons.)
  • Locations – The armpit, under the breasts, folds of the stomach, the groin, vaginal area, buttocks, and sometimes behind the ears and the nape of the neck are typical locations for those boils.
  • Symmetry means that you will experience symptoms on both sides of your body at the same time.
  • Connected conditions – HS is frequently connected with various health issues (known as comorbidities), such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, a higher BMI (though HS can affect people of any weight), and others.

Whether HS is ignored or misdiagnosed, the inability to appropriately diagnose this chronic inflammatory skin illness produces a cascade of problems. For starters, not having a proper diagnosis implies ongoing discomfort, which can reduce your quality of life. Lesions can make it hard to walk or lift your arms because they frequently appear in the groin and armpits.

According to the JAAD study, nearly half of patients claim their symptoms have a significant impact on their lives, and nearly 15% are incapacitated as a result. Furthermore, misdiagnosis might pave the way for HS development and repercussions ranging from infection to scarring to despair.

According to Dr Adil, persons with HS have an increased chance of developing squamous-cell skin cancer in chronic HS lesions.

Why Is HS Misdiagnosed?

Patients experiencing HS symptoms should first consult their primary care physician or an ob-gyn, or proceed to urgent care or the emergency department to have their painful lesions, which can explode with pus and bleed, assessed. If the symptoms are seen as an isolated episode, individuals may be given interim treatment—lancing and draining of the boil and an antibiotic prescription—for what appears to be a minor abscess, cyst, or boil and then discharged without any suggested follow-up care. However, lesions eventually flare up again, frequently on a weekly or monthly basis.

“HS is one of the things that hasn’t made it into the medical school curriculum,” says Dr Adil. (For the record, HS is a clinical diagnosis established by a clinician based on a visual examination of lesions or lesion patterns on a patient’s skin; there is no blood test or diagnostic test available to make the diagnosis. It affects three times the number of women as males.)

In other cases, patients may contribute to the delay in diagnosis. “Because HS lesions are often in hidden places on the body, such as the armpits or the groin,” Dr Adil explains, “patients may be hesitant to discuss them with a health-care provider, or they may hope they will go away on their own.” They might in certain circumstances, but they will reoccur.

What Happens If Doctors Miss HS?

A delay in HS diagnosis, however it occurs, might jeopardize someone’s social, sexual, and job or professional life. If HS is not well managed, it can result in increased skin pulling and “tunnels” that connect painful, beneath-the-skin lumps. These tunneling tracts, in particular, can emit an odorous discharge, making an HS patient hesitant to go out in public.

Scars, which can be firm and rope-like, are also a possibility. “The longer you have the disease, the more scarring you’ll have with recurring lesions, and that’s something we can’t reverse,” says Dr Adil. “The scarring can be really bad, especially in the armpits, under the breasts, in the groin area, under the thighs, and behind the neck and ears.” 

People with misdiagnosed or poorly controlled HS may require draining of lesions if they progress to the point where they restrict mobility, or surgery to remove a section of scar tissue. “This is a disease that, if not treated effectively, will progress over time,” Dr Adil explains.

Bottom line: Don’t put off obtaining help or seeking a correct diagnosis because your lumps or sores are embarrassing. “If you suspect you have HS (based on what you’ve read about it), you should see a doctor who is familiar with the condition as soon as possible,” Dr Adil advises.

Though it cannot be cured, the good news is that HS is treated, with a wide range of Ayurveda medications, available to help you manage and decrease flares so you can focus on living your life. “We’re in a time where we have more treatment options than ever to treat the disease,” says Dr Adil, “and the earlier we can diagnose people, the better off they’ll be.”

Ayurveda has a root cause treatment for HS with many long time sufferers now living without any relapse or recurrence of HS.

Our Outlook –

Under one roof, we at EliteAyurveda Clinics have a panel of specialists in numerous dimensions of medical domains such as endocrine, autoimmune, gynecology, and so on. We are well-known for taking a multifaceted and root-cause approach to treating chronic and difficult-to-treat disorders.

Contact us to learn more.

According to Ayurveda, hidradenitis suppurativa is a cause of Kapha and Pitta dosha. When the digestive fire (Agni), or Pitta, is out of balance, the Kapha Dosha becomes vitiated, which slows down metabolism. Due to the disruption of fat molecules, they start to build up in muscles and impede bodily passageways, causing painful, swollen sores in the groin, buttocks, thighs, and armpits.

In Ayurveda, hidradenitis suppurativa Treatment is to restore the body’s natural equilibrium by detoxifying it with potent herbal therapies. 

The treatment for Hidradenitis Suppurativa at Elite Ayurveda comprises balancing the Kapha and Pitta doshas, as well as providing harmony to the metabolism. The treatment comprises body detoxification, internal drugs to balance doshas, and external applications to heal scars.

The treatment involves combinations of herbs created based on individual Prakruti and Vikruti analysis. Visit our website to know more

Connect with us to get our patient testimonials and also to speak with our patients directly about their experience in getting their disease treated by us and by Ayurveda as a whole.

Medically reviewed by Dr Adil Moulanchikkal, Lead Ayurveda Specialist at EliteAyurveda Clinics. With over 15 years of experience in treating Neurological, Skin & Autoimmune Diseases.


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