4 physical signs of misdiagnosed skin disease that increases the risk of depression and scarring and how to treat it

A close-up of a woman’s black dot-like bumps caused by hydradenitis suppurativa.Getty Images

  • Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a misdiagnosed skin disease that occurs in the armpits and groin.

  • If left untreated, HS can lead to disability and depression.

  • Pain in the armpits, hips, genitals and breasts, itching and purulent rashes are signs of HS.

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a rare but debilitating skin disease that can leave patients disabled or permanently scarred.

A person who has a hand in front of his penis due to illness.

The man had an “impatient” pain in his penis for three days before seeing a doctor.Getty

Skin diseases affecting the armpits, genitals, and chest can affect patients severely, but are often misdiagnosed.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) affects only 1-4% of the population, but this condition “can have a huge impact on life.” The disease can cause painful, itchy, and purulent rashes under the skin, and the size and pain of HS legions can cause problems with mobility and flexibility. Patients with a broad legion are eligible for federal disability benefits.

According to a 2020 meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, patients with HS are more likely to experience depression and anxiety. An article published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology in 2018 found that patients with HS had a much higher risk of suicide, which the authors considered “a very clear indication of how deeply HS can affect patients’ lives.”

According to the men’s health report, the diagnosis was often made because the patient was ashamed to see a doctor, because the doctor did not know the symptoms of HS, and because of incorrect information about the treatment.

HS begins during puberty and is more common in black people, smokers, overweight people and women. According to Kaiser Permanente, if detected early, doctors can treat the disease with antibiotics, prescription oils, hormonal pills and steroid injections.

Rare but debilitating physical symptoms include itchy bumps that form over time and cysts in the groin, armpits, or hips.

There are marble or pea-sized areas under your skin.

The nurse feels patient with breast tumors

LUIS ROBAYO / AFP via Getty Images

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common symptoms of suppurative hydradenitis are bean-sized lesions under the skin. It starts with an illness that can last for weeks or months. Tumors usually heal slowly, reappearing, and sometimes opening up, leaving a pus-filled discharge.

HS may also show several black spots that appear on small, deep areas of the skin.

You have acne and itching on your hair, genitals, armpits or hips.

The man raises his hand and itches his armpit

Getty Images

The condition of the skin affects areas that are rubbed against each other and have sweat glands, such as the armpits, groin, genitals, breasts and hips.

Texas dermatologist Adam Mamelak said that men with suppurative hydradenitis in men may be embarrassed to see a doctor because the affected areas are sensitive and the diagnosis can be delayed.

Your skin becomes red, tender, and swollen in some areas.

The woman is holding her chest with both hands

Getty Images

HS can cause hair follicles or sweat glands to become clogged and inflamed due to abnormal overgrowth of cells. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a person may feel red, tender, and swollen skin around the armpits, hips, and other areas of the body, which is the first sign of HS.

Acne mainly affects people in the form of acne and boils.

A small boil on the skin

Getty Images

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), cysts or ulcers caused by hydradenite suppuration heal over and over again, forming hollow tunnels under the skin called sinus tracts.

Tunnels can cause hydradenitis suppurativa to grow and coalesce as the condition progresses. According to the AADA, it can become an abscess filled with fluid, such as pus or blood, and become ill.

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