Hidradenitis — treatment of the disease and its main features

Ways of infection
Risk groups
Complications and predictions
Useful tips


Hidradenitis armpit
Hidradenitis armpit

The armpit sweat glands are different from the rest of the glands throughout the body. Their secret is more viscous and thick, so the stagnation often develops in the axillary glands. It can be provoked by dust particles, which are getting into the duct of the gland, by excessive sweat density, improper use of deodorants and antiperspirants.

In the further pathogenesis of hidradenitis, infection plays a huge role. Most often it is Staphylococcus aureus. This conditionally pathogenic microorganism lives on the skin of healthy people and, with good immunity, does not harm the patient. But if the defenses are weakened, the infection causes various purulent diseases.

The combination of infection and blockage of the sweat gland’ duct causes hidradenitis. Also, inflammation can occur without blockage, if the infecting dose is very high (dirt ingress, failure to follow personal hygiene rules).

Ways of infection

There is no infection process in the case of hidradenitis (photo of the inflammatory process can be seen above). The microorganism is on the skin constantly, and infection is possible with a decrease in immunity. Numerous bacteria may be observed if personal hygiene rules are constantly violated or after contact with a sick person.

Risk groups

There are no risk groups for the development of hidradenitis. However, among the predisposing factors excessive sweating, uncleanliness, neglect of deodorants can be listed. In addition, a number of diseases contribute to purulent infections, such as immune diseases, diabetes, thyroid disease.


Hidradenitis is subdivided depending on the localization of the disease (axillary, inguinal, less often, umbilical or on the scalp). It can also be acute or chronic. The following stages can be distinguished:

  • initial, when painful feelings, itching and slight swelling appear;
  • purulent when inflammation is most active;
  • stage of abscess rupture.


The disease develops gradually. At the initial stage, it is manifested by itching and mild discomfort; you can notice small seals under the skin. These are the earliest signs of illness that often go unnoticed. They can be attributed to hot weather or uncomfortable clothes.

With the development of the disease, new symptoms appear, like soreness with pressure on the nodule, an increase in the size of nodules, they begin to resemble the nipples of animals when you touch them. The skin above them changes in color. It becomes blue and purple, inflamed, very sensitive to traumatic effects.

As they grow, the nodules continue to merge with each other and enlarge. As a result, one or more armpit formations appear (the surgical treatment begins at this stage). The inflamed gland is dramatically enlarged, painful, redness may extend beyond the armpit. The general state of health can worsen.

After the inflammatory focus has matured, it gradually softens. The general condition of the patient continues to deteriorate. The surface of the hidradenitis becomes uneven. This stage ends with a breakthrough of hidradenitis. A hole is formed in it, pus is released from it, sometimes with an admixture of blood.

Treatment of hidradenitis after a breakthrough is difficult. With a favorable course, spontaneous cleansing of the purulent focus occurs with the formation of deep erosion by the armpit. Over time, it heals, leaving behind a scar of elongated shape. If the scar is large, it can affect the mobility of the arm, the patient will feel soreness when raising the arm.

Symptoms in children

For children, the most rapid development of symptoms is characteristic. A sharp deterioration in health is the most common. A vicious cycle is possible when an increased temperature due to infection increases sweating, and high sweating worsens the course of hidradenitis. There is also a high risk of spreading the disease to neighboring sweat glands and the development of complications.


How to treat hidradenitis in adults and children? It is required to identify all diseases that contribute to the development of pathology, prescribe appropriate treatment, strengthen the immune system, and to remove the inflamed tissue.

Medicamentous treatment

It is necessary to treat hidradenitis with drugs regardless of its stage. To do this, use remedies for general and local use. Local drug therapy consists of daily treatment of the skin around the inflamed gland with antiseptic solutions. Boric and salicylic acid and other alcohol tinctures are best suited. This is done after washing the armpits.

For the general treatment of hidradenitis, the patient is prescribed antibiotics. Amoxicillin, lincomycin and related drugs are most effective. Antibiotic therapy should be prescribed by a doctor after diagnostic activities. Additionally, immune drugs are used. After antibiotic therapy, agents are needed to restore the normal intestinal microflora.

If the cause of the hidradenitis applies a chronic form, then the consultation of a specialist is necessary, with a full examination and the appointment or adjustment of treatment. Drug therapy is used before and after surgery to speed up recovery and prevent relapse.

Surgical treatment

 Hidradenitis, opened surgically
Hidradenitis, opened surgically

Surgical dissection is performed at the stage of maturation of hidradenitis. The procedure is carried out on an outpatient basis or in a hospital, depending on the condition of the patient. The procedure itself takes no more than half an hour and is performed under local anesthesia. Inflamed area is cut off with novocaine or lidocaine. Then, an incision is made on the inflamed area, all pus is carefully removed. In the end, the treatment is carried out with an antibiotic ointment and a sterile dressing is applied.

With a more complex course of chronic hidradenitis, the involvement of neighboring tissues, with a greater risk of purulent complications more extensive surgery is required. The entire affected area within healthy tissue is removed while a patient is under general anesthesia. I.e. not only inflamed, but possibly inflamed tissue is removed as well.

After surgery, the patient needs to be under medical supervision until the state stabilizes. This may require hospitalization for a day or several days. After that, the patient needs to apply bandages daily. But at this stage treatment at home is possible until complete recovery.


Diet is important. The patient is required to abandon spicy and salty foods, as well as to limit sweets since an increased level of glucose in the blood provides food for bacteria. It is recommended to increase the number of dairy products, fresh fruits, and vegetables because they help strengthen the immune system. Patients with severe endocrine disorders and women during pregnancy have a particular need in the right diet.

Treatment by traditional methods

Before you treat hidradenitis with folk remedies, you should consult with a specialist. Most likely, he will not approve such a method of treatment, since modern medicine will cope with this task better. However, if the patient wants to improve his well-being, he should take a plantain decoction inside (it strengthens the immune system), take baths with chamomile and celandine.

Complications and predictions

The spread of purulent infections with hidradenitis in weakened patients or in the absence of treatment can cause abscess, cellulitis or sepsis. Each of these complications has its own characteristics of course and treatment.

An abscess is a large inflammatory focus filled with pus, which has clear boundaries. It is accompanied by a significant deterioration of the general condition, fever, pain. When an abscess breaks into the surrounding space, large masses of pus are released, which provoke further infection progression and the spread of the inflammatory process.
More information about disease you can read in this article.

Cellulitis occurs due to the spread of pus or improper drainage in the treatment of hidradenitis. It is a purulent formation without clear boundaries, which tends to spread to an increasing area. Its treatment is a removal of the affected area, and installation of drainage into the resulting cavity. The complexity of the operation in the armpit is that several vascular and nerve nodes pass in this area.

Sepsis is a severe generalized infection. Bacteria enter the bloodstream, lesions occur throughout the body, and the patient’s condition quickly becomes critical. The disease is treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics. Suppression of the functions of the internal organs requires supportive therapy, monitoring of vital functions is obligatory.


To never know what hidradenitis is, you need to be attentive to your health. Take note of the early symptoms of the disease and consult a doctor promptly. Personal hygiene is extremely important, clean people suffer from such diseases less often. If the skin in the armpit is damaged, it must be protected from dirt, so you can avoid hidradenitis.

According to statistics, hidradenitis is diagnosed in women at earlier stages than in men. One of the reasons is self-care, the use of means to reduce sweating and regular shaving of the armpits. Lack of hair allows you to notice the signs of the disease much earlier, respectively, it is possible to do without surgical treatment.

If the patient suffers from any chronic diseases that increase sweating and reduce immunity, it is necessary to strictly follow the prescriptions of your doctor for these pathologies. It is necessary to strictly follow the diet, as well as be sure to take measures to strengthen the immune system.

Among the ways to improve immunity, you can list regular walks in the fresh air, tempering procedures and rational physical activity. It should be remembered that immunity to Staphylococcus is maintained in the presence of a pathogenic microorganism, i.e. antibacterial soap and shower gel should be used as a means of treating and preventing infections, but not on a permanent basis.

Useful tips

The fastest way to cure hidradenitis is to consult a doctor promptly. Patients postponing treatment have a serious risk of complications. This disease is especially dangerous for children.

Among the good advice are to take care of yourself, follow the rules of personal hygiene, take a shower every day, especially those who are engaged in physical labor or sports. It is recommended to conduct a healthy diet, not only during the illness but also with good health.

People often ask not only about how to treat hidradenitis, but also whether it is possible to go to the pool or to the beach with such inflammation. Here, all experts agree that water procedures should be postponed until recovery. A visit to the gym and other sports activities are also contraindicated. There is a high probability to worsen the course of the disease. Solar radiation and tanning beds are not recommended for such patients. They do not have a therapeutic effect but may aggravate the condition.

During pregnancy, most antibiotics are contraindicated, but the source of infection in the mother’s body causes much more harm to the fetus. For this reason, the doctor constantly has to choose between the benefit to the mother and the risk to the fetus. Preference is given to local treatments, with their ineffectiveness, hidradenitis is removed, waiting for the stage of maturation. Hospitalization is possible as well. At the time of treatment, lactation should be interrupted.

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