Hidradenitis is a chronic, pus-producing and scarring disease process that occurs due to obstruction of hair follicles and secondary infection and inflammation of certain sweat glands. This condition is found under the arms or within the anal region. It is characterized by the development of recurrent, boil-like nodular lesions and deep pus-containing pockets of infection (abscesses) that may eventually rupture through the skin. Healing of affected areas is typically associated with progressive scarring (fibrosis). The specific underlying cause of hidradenitis is unknown.

The symptoms of hidradenitis include:

  • Fever
  • Pain and tenderness in the involved area(s)
  • Boils just under the skin
  • Discharge of pus through specially formed tracts (suppuration)
  • Weight loss

This condition is usually treated with rest, moist heat to extract the pus from the boils, application of warm, wet dressing with topical antibiotics to the affected areas, as well as oral antibiotics. In later stages, a mass with scarred bands of tissue may occur in inflamed areas.

Surgery of the affected areas may be necessary in the most persistent cases. Two types of surgical removals include an excision/split skin grafting and excision/local skin flap cover.


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