Comorbidities and Hidradenitis Suppurativa

HS causes inflammation in your skin and in other parts of your body. If the inflammation isn’t controlled in your skin, it can worsen and cause a complication – this is a new and different set of sensations or changes in the body. Your chance of having a complication is higher if your HS is more severe and if it’s not controlled. This is one of the reasons we want to get the word out about HS and the treatment options that are available.

Examples of complications include: 

  • Infections like Cellulitis or Sepsis: Infection can happen along with the HS. This is called cellulitis when the infection is in the skin, or sepsis when the infection is in the blood.
  • Injuries to the lymphatics: Deep inflammation can injure the vessels that carry fluid in our skin, called lymphatics. This can cause the skin to get thick and hard, then stay that way.
  • Injuries to nearby organs: Inflammation deep in the genital area or buttocks can tunnel to the bladder or bowel. This connection is called a fistula and can cause problems if it isn’t treated.
  • Anemia (low red blood cells): When there is too much inflammation in the body, it makes it harder to make red blood cells. This is called anemia and can make you feel more tired, making activities or exercise more difficult.
  • Skin cancer: If inflammation in the skin is not controlled over years and years, then it can cause skin cancer. This may sound scary, but it is very rare in HS.  However, this is yet another reason to treat HS, because it can be prevented. 

Remember, complications don’t happen to every person with HS. If your HS inflammation is controlled, then your chance of a complication is much lower. Visit your doctor today to talk about treatment.

HS can increase your chance of having another condition at the same time.

This other condition is called a comorbidity. These other conditions can be in the skin or in other parts of your body. This is why it is so important to have a primary care provider (PCP) in charge of managing your whole health. 

These are some of the conditions that you and your PCP can work together to look for and treat: 

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Arthritis
  • Acne, Pilonidal cyst
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease

All of these conditions can be treated. Take care of yourself - talk to your doctor.

Read more

Comorbidity screening in hidradenitis suppurativa: Evidence-based recommendations from the US and Canadian Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundations