By Becky Naughton, RN, MSN, FNP-C, WCC
If you've ever had a painful red bump after shaving, you've probably chalked this up to razor burn or an ingrown hair. After an irritating day or so, the bumps will likely fade and disappear on their own, and you don't give it any more thought. But what if these bumps just kept growing and became more and more painful? And even worse, what if they developed in sensitive areas such as the axilla or the groin? What if these bumps got so bad, they eventually opened, started to drain, and even formed tracts under the skin? Not only are these bumps painful, but they are also embarrassing. Forget about wearing a sleeveless shirt or bathing suit in the summer. Would people think you had a horrific contagious disease? You go to doctor after doctor, but no one has been able to treat this successfully. The bumps may disappear for some time but then suddenly reappear. They may leave scars that seem to open and close persistently, and at times they may become infected, requiring antibiotic therapy. Finally, you get the diagnosis for this awful condition: hidradenitis suppurativa (HS).