Holli Marie’s Perspective on HS
Written by: Holli Marie Kephart
Apocrinitis, Verneuil’s disease, acne inversa, acne conglobata, apocrine acne, Velpeau’s disease, they all boil down to one not so simple medical name; Hidradenitis Suppurativa or HS for short.
Boils, carbuncles, flares, abscesses, lumps, lesions, pimple-like bumps, monsters, spots; we HS warriors, I won’t say sufferers because we battle this disease instead of just suffering it, we all have a different term for our lesions but it all means the same thing for us. Discomfort, pain, embarrassment, little to no self confidence, and lesions that can take 1 day up to years to heal. Sizes of HS spots vary from pea size to baseball or larger size.
These lesions I personally call abscesses or spots are not always a walk in the park. Some days I feel like I can tackle most anything other days I can barely move without pain. HS forms, mostly in the underarms, on or under the breast, groin, inner thighs, and buttock areas, but can and do appear anywhere there are pores that sweat and hair that grows or where there is skin friction. HS is not contagious but can sometimes be genetic. HS warriors make up 1% of the world’s population.
From my understanding, while there have not been enough studies to really find the cause, it is semi understood that HS is caused by inflammation of sweat glands, ingrown hairs, or blocked hair roots. There is no cure, but there are treatments that can help manage symptoms and sometimes diet and lifestyle changes can help. HS can get worse the longer you have it and don’t seek treatment.
There are three stages of HS called Hurley Stage I, II, and III.
● Hurley Stage I: there are usually just a few isolated boils without sinus tracts or scarring
● Hurley Stage II: a little more severe than Hurley Stage I, some boils that keep coming back or cause scarring and sinus tracts.
(Sinus tracts are where HS infections bore and tunnel through your soft tissue to form more boils in another adjoined area.)
● Hurley Stage III: Clusters of boils that connect to other affected areas in a nearby region. Usually there is not much surface area in between boils and it can be extremely grotesque and painful, I myself, have been categorized by a dermatologist at a Hurley Stage 2 to 3 but I suspect my condition has worsened over time. Lesions can and often do become infected with staphylococcus lugdunensis , also know as a staph infection, which can become serious quickly if not treated properly. I read somewhere that 60% of HS cultures taken contain staph infection. Signs of infection include but are not limited to fever, redness, swelling, inflammation, and rapid growth of abscesses.