Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic inflammatory disease of the sweat gland. Most mild outbreaks can be treated at home, but a doctor may need to be consulted if the problem becomes more serious.
Hidradenitis causes plugging in the apocrine glands, and the plugging leads to infection. According to Medline Plus, hidradenitis begins with blackheads that grow into swollen, pus-filled lumps called abscesses. Tunnels form underneath the skin between the pockets of pus. This chronic infection can lead to scarring in the affected areas such as the armpits, under the breasts and in the groin.
This condition usually affects people between puberty and the age of 40, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is more common in women and African-American populations and in people who have a family history of the disorder. The condition can be exacerbated by stress, obesity and hormone changes.
Immunosuppressant drugs can be used to help prevent outbreaks. Antibiotics are also prescribed to treat the existing infection and to keep the symptoms from becoming worse. Surgical skin grafts may be necessary in severe cases to remove the affected areas and replace the tissue with healthy skin.