Hidradenitis Suppurativa (Acne Inversa): Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic skin disease of hair follicles. It most commonly affects the armpits and groin, but it can also affect the scalp and buttocks.

Signs and symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa include bumps or boil-like sores in the armpits and groin. It is not a type of acne, but the sores may resemble acne. The sores may run together to create abnormal channels through the skin where drainage of pus is apparent. Associated symptoms can include

  • swelling and
  • scarring of the involved areas.

Cause of hidradenitis suppurativa

Doctors do not understand the exact cause of the condition, although a family history of the condition is present in many people with the condition, suggesting that there may be a genetic cause.

Other hidradenitis suppurativa (acne inversa) symptoms

  • Abnormal channels through the skin with pus drainage
  • Bumps or boil-like sores in the groin or armpits
  • Scarring
  • Sores that resemble acne
  • Swelling


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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.