What is HS?
HS, or Hidradenitis Suppurativa, is a chronic skin condition. Chronic means it lasts for a while, typically years.
Is HS an autoimmune or autoinflammatory disease?
HS is better described as autoinflammatory, because your own cells are attacking each other (‘auto-‘) and the cells are from the immune system, so cause inflammation (‘-inflammatory’). When clinicians and researchers use the word ‘autoimmune’ it refers to a specific way the immune system attacks its own cells – and this isn’t the exact way that things happen in HS. Examples of autoimmune diseases are lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Am I at risk for other conditions if I have HS?
If you have an increased risk of getting other diseases. It’s important to have a primary care provider to know everything that is happening with your health. Be aware of your body and talk to your provider if you get new symptoms.
Why do I have HS?
This is a question that weighs on the minds of people with HS. Researchers are working hard to answer this question. Genetics play a role – about 1 in 3 people with HS have a family member with HS.
If I have HS, will my children get it?
If you have HS, it does not mean the there is a 100% chance your children will have it. About 1 in 3 people with HS have a family history. If your child does develop HS, your experience will help them a lot! You can help them find a provider who knows about HS and help them choose treatment.
What will happen with my HS if I get pregnant?
HS is caused by the immune system and the immune system adapts during pregnancy – some women notice their HS gets worse, some have no change in their HS activity, and others notice it gets better. Some treatments can’t be used during pregnancy, but others can be used safely.
Can I prevent HS?
No, you couldn’t have done anything to completely stop HS if it happens to you. In part, this is because HS is caused by genetics – the building blocks of your body and you can’t re-program this...yet!
How is HS treated?
There are multiple therapies available to treat HS, including medications, procedures (or surgeries), other approaches (avoiding things that aggravate, smoking, diet, and more) can be effective. Try this decision aid to help determine the best treatment for you.
Does HS get better with time?
HS often starts when people are in their teens or 20’s and not so often when people are in their 50’s or 60’s. HS is caused by the immune system, and most conditions caused by the immune system get less active later in life.