Hidradenitis suppurativa / acne inversa

An abscess is an encapsulated accumulation of pus, usually caused by a bacterial infection.

Most people develop an abscess, a localized accumulation of pus, at least once in their lives.
An abscess generally causes considerable pain. The affected tissue is notably swollen, red, and accompanied by a hot sensation. In many cases, a blue discoloration of the skin is also apparent.
The first step to treating an abscess is the external application of blistering ointments or antibiotic salves and tinctures. If the abscess continues to grow in size, a surgical incision may be needed to deroof the abscess, and drain secretions. Failure to effectively contain the abscess externally may result in the infection spreading further into the neighboring issue. Such tunnels filled with pus are called fistulas.

If abscesses and fistulas form repeatedly, a patient may suffer from a condition called hidradenitis suppurativa, which is also known as acne inversa – in which the most affected areas are armpits, groin area, anal, and breast regions. No other skin disease is known to cause such severe impairment to a patient’s quality of life *.

*This definition is intended for general non-professional interest only. It has no claim to be complete or academic. For full information please refer to the latest edition of the Guideline for the treatment of HS. To the guidelines

The chronic disease hidradenitis suppurativa

Hidradenitis suppurativa/acne inversa (HS) is a chronic, inflammatory, recurrent skin disease that generally appears after puberty, and can cause scarring. It usually presents with painful, deep-seated, inflamed lesions in the apocrine gland-bearing areas of the body, most commonly the axillae, inguinal and anogenital regions. (Dessauer definition)*

Despite intensive research over the last decade, the pathogenesis of hidradenitis suppurativa / acne inversa is still not fully understood. In particular, the reason for the chronic nature of the disease has not been discovered or agreed upon within the medical community. The major pathogenic cause, however, is believed to be the hyperkeratosis with an occlusion of the upper part of the hair follicle.

lAight® therapy

The creation of an abscess in hidradenitis suppurativa

  • Hyperkeratosis

    A keratin overproduction causes thickening of the outer layer of the skin and clogged hair follicles. Inside the follicle bacteria from the skin surface and sebum become trapped.
  • Sebum Overproduction

    With the sebum production being trapped within the follicle due to the blockage the follicle expands further. Bacteria starts to infiltrate the sebum-filled cyst.
  • Inflammation

    Inflammation develops in the sebaceous gland and the follicle. As a result of the bacterial growth pus forms, and eventually, ruptures the follicle’s duct.
  • Abscess

    Pus spreads into the tissue. The body then encloses the affected area, as it becomes increasingly swollen with pus. The result is an active abscess, fistula development is possible.

What HS means to patients:

  1. “Unpleasant odor, disgust, fear, and restriction are a part of my normal, everyday life.”

    Sabine W., affected by the disease since the age of 19

  2. “HS puts my joy of life on hold. I have lost my smile and my laughter. It means to be in the hospital every 4-8 weeks and go through extensive surgery. My body is full of scars … but first and foremost it means pain.”

    Svenjana K., affected by the disease for 12 years

  3. “25 years of my life, I have not lived – but suffered.”

    Doris K., affected by the disease for 25 years

  4. “I would like to be able to hold my child in my arms and cuddle her, without pain.”

    Stephanie N., affected by the disease for 7 years

  5. “HS limits my private life, as well as my career, but I do not let it rule my life.”

    Wolfgang K., affected by the disease for 35 years

  6. “HS is a nightmare. From year to year, it becomes worse and destroys my body, my sexuality, my self-esteem.”

    Manuela H., affected by the disease for 15 years