In my mid to late twenties I developed large acne-like bumps on my inner thighs and sometimes up into my groin. These weren't prolific by any means, only a few at a time; enough to make me notice them. But unlike regular acne I would get on my face these purplish little buggers wouldn't come to head and would hang around for weeks, sometimes months. Some would grow as large as the tip of a finger. They would be deep within the skin, not superficial and they would of course be uncomfortable.
I never talked to my doctor about them because in my mind they were just "pimples"; something I had dealt with all my life. Or I guess I should say put up with. It wasn't until I had the internet as a resource that I came across an actual medical diagnosis (with images) for what I was experiencing; hence the title of this article: hidradenitis suppurativa.
I also learned how lucky I was. I was experiencing a very mind form. Many overweight and obese people (more women than men -- and yes thin people can get it too) suffer with small bumps that eventually turned into full blown abscesses. Some even develop ones as large as a fist and have to go for surgery to have them removed.
There is not a definitive cause for hidradenitis suppurativa, sometimes called boils, but they are often attributed to hygiene, sweat, skin irritation, blocked follicles/glands, and hormones. And treatment is often similar to severe forms of acne.
My own treatment was hit and miss for many years until I tried using the Proactiv (yes, the facial acne treatment) lotion on the bumps while they were just beginning to form. I had great success if I caught them in the early stages -- they seemed to stop in their tracts.
The things that aggravate them are often things we can't avoid: stress, sweat and thighs rubbing together. But we can control our stress, wash regularly with mild cleansers, change out of wet (sweaty clothes) as soon as possible, and buy clothing that is breathable. Another factor that seemed to really bring out the worst in them was my menstrual cycle. The week before my period seemed to be when these little buggers would crop up. I also think my hormones were the reason why they just disappeared and haven't returned. In my mid thirties they just stopped coming. And I don't miss them.
If you think you suffer from hidradenitis suppurativa definitely bring it up with your doctor no matter how severe you think it is. If treatment turns out to be necessary you want to get it early to avoid pain and skin damage down the road. Now you may not be one of the ones who develop into full blown abscesses but do you really want to wait until then? Treatment will be harder and much more painful.