Blocked, infected sweat glands (hidradenitis suppurativa)

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a blockage of the sweat glands, usually in the armpits, and rarely, on the buttocks or groin or under the breasts. Heat, sweat, or incomplete gland development may block sweat glands, forcing sweat and bacteria into the tissue around it, which then becomes infected.

This condition is seen most often in:

  • Black females.
  • People who are overweight.
  • People who spend time in a hot and moist environment.

Symptoms

Hidradenitis suppurativa usually occurs as multiple lumps that:

  • Are firm, tender, and dome-shaped.
  • Vary in size from 1 cm to 3 cm (occasionally larger).
  • May open and drain pus.

This condition is treated with medication to reduce inflammation and fight infection. However, this condition is difficult to treat, and if the infection is severe or recurs, surgery may be needed to remove the lumps and cure the infection.

Last Updated: May 6, 2009

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