What is Hidradenitis Suppurativa or Acne Inversa?
Hidradenitis Suppurativa, commonly referred to as acne inversa, is a severe inflammatory skin condition manifesting itself through blackheads and painful red bumps filled with pus that may persist for weeks or even months. This inflammatory skin condition is amongst the most distressing and severe with many sufferers finding it difficult to cope with both physically and psychologically. Acne treatment methods for Hidradenitis Suppurativa generally have a lower cure success rate as compared to other forms of acne as they do not address all the causal factors.
Despite its name this ailment is not really categorized as a type of acne. Hidradenitis Suppurativa is actually a chronic disorder of the apocrine sweat gland which characterized by similar symptoms to acne. The term ‘inversa’ is used to link the pathogenesis of this illness to acne, suggesting the localizations of the pustules and skin lesions, which is the opposite of acne vulgaris. In other words abscesses affect the armpits, groin, inner thighs, and the anal region as these are the main locations of apocrine glands. Additionally other areas of the body where skin tends to rub together or where hair follicles are found can also be affected.
Why does Acne Inversa occur?
Hidradenitis Suppurativa presents when the openings of the hair follicles and sebaceous glands become blocked with dead skin cells, fluid or oil is released by the apocrine glands, and bacteria exists on the skin’s surface. All these mixed substances become trapped under the skin and start pushing into the surrounding tissues. This leads, in the first stages of the disease, to blackheads and small bumps called abscesses that can develop into hard, puss-filled lumps and large draining lesions that have been known to reach the size of golf balls.
The general symptoms and signs of this skin condition are small black spots appearing in pairs. As the symptoms increase in severity tender bumps, which usually enlarge and break, drain pus and leave behind painful lumps which develop under the skin. These lumps tend to become inflamed and persist for years and can trigger the formation of tunnels under the affected areas of the skin.
These skin lesions are extremely painful and often leave scars, or open wounds, that can only be reduced through specific Hidradenitis Suppurativa surgical methods. Although it’s not known what exactly triggers the appearance of HS, or what causes the flare-ups, it is thought that hormonal changes, stress, humidity, heat, excess weight and smoking play a role in this process. Given the uncertainty about the causes of this skin condition, Hidradenitis suppurativa treatment alternatives are often unspecific and therefore can prove to be ineffective over time.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa Treatment Methods
Acne inversa treatment regiments often rely on the same remedies and methods used in managing other common types of acne and include topical or oral acne medications and surgical removal of the skin lesions. Still, the recommended acne treatment methods are strongly linked with the severity of the manifestations. Mild cases of Hidradenitis suppurativa are generally managed through self-care measures such as warm compresses or regular washings using antibacterial soaps.
Antibiotics are prescribed for both short and long term treatments, as they help the body fight infection which prevent the symptoms from getting worse and reduce the risks of future outbreaks. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are also recommended for alleviating the pain and reducing the swelling of the affected skin areas. Corticosteroids are typically used for reducing the inflammation in the early stages. Birth control pills and oral retinoid medications can be taken to stop the oil production in the sebaceous glands.
In severe Hidradenitis Suppurativa cases with persistent symptoms, deep lesions and disabling pain Hidradenitis suppurativa surgery is may be the only realistic option for eliminating the abscesses and reducing the discomfort. The typical procedure consists of three stages: the first stage involves the lump’san incision in the lump and drainage of the accumulated pus. The second stage refers to the surgical removal of the lesions together with the tracts and tunnels formed under the skin. Unfortunately, none of these two steps prevents new lumps from occurring in other areas of the body, so in some patients the third stage is the only solution for getting long-term relief from the symptoms.
This last surgical Hidradenitis suppurativa treatment alternative involves the complete removal of all the skin areas affected by abscesses and sores, followed by direct closure of the wounds with skin grafts. In order to do this,This is typically done by removing smaller or larger skins flaps are removed from one area of the body (usually a less visible one) and attached grafted over the affectedto another region. The procedure and the recovery period are very painful and lotswith many of patients require requiring additional plastic surgery interventions to to get rid of all the scars left by acne inversa.
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