Hidradenitis suppurativa is a type of chronic inflammatory condition that affects the skin. It causes the sweat glands to become infected and inflamed, triggering the formation of lumps underneath the skin. The lumps typically form in skin folds such as the groin, armpits, and underneath the breasts. Initially, the lumps may look like small pimples, but they can enlarge up to the size of a marble, and may also turn into abscesses and fill with pus or blood. Since hidradenitis suppurativa is a relatively rare condition, it is often misdiagnosed as acne, and some doctors incorrectly attribute it to poor hygiene or obesity. For this reason, patients who suspect they may have the condition should be evaluated by a dermatologist.
Hormonal therapy may be appropriate for women with hidradenitis suppurativa, and it can help reduce pain and pus drainage from sores caused by the condition. Before starting hormonal therapy, patients should ask their healthcare provider about the safest form for their situation. Some forms of birth control may increase the risk of blood clots, and it is important for patients to report side effects to their doctors promptly.
Another type of hormone therapy that helps some patients is spironolactone, a diuretic used in the treatment of hormonal acne. Patients using spironolactone should be aware of potential side effects which include nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, headaches, dizziness, and changes in menstruation. The medication can cause changes in kidney function, and it may not be appropriate for patients with kidney disease.